Students at John Muir College vote this week on a fee referendum to raise the Muir student activity fee. If passed, the quarterly activity fee collected from students will increase to $7, from $2. The Muir College Council would distribute the funds for events, organizations and activities.

Polling stations will be set up outside Middle of Muir between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Jan. 28 through Feb. 1.

There will also be a polling booth at Muir College’s semiformal dance to be held on Feb. 1. The referendum is being sponsored by the Muir College Council.

UCSD prepares to help disadvantaged schools

UCSD recently strengthened its partnership with local Native American communities and educational outreach programs.

The university received a $1.4 million grant to enhance academic achievement and college attendance rates for students at two schools in northeastern San Diego County.

Undergraduate students from UCSD will be able to tutor students at Pauma Elementary School and Valley Center High School because of funds provided by the Growing Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program.

UCSD students will assist students in all grade levels via a live video feed carried over the Internet. Internet technology is being used because the distance between the two campuses was previously too far for tutors to commute. The high-speed broadband system connecting the school is part of the Tribal Digital Village project.

Tutors will interact with the schools, which serve largely American Indian and Mexican-American communities, from a new Outreach Communications Center at UCSD.

The grant is in addition to ongoing partnerships among the Pala, Pauma and Rincon bands of Luiseno Mission Indians

Student progress will be tracked as they move from kindergarten through high school. The grant also provides computer training for adults and home visits to parents.

UCSD also participates in G.E.A.R. U.P. programs with Gompers Secondary School Horace Mann Middle School in San Diego and National City Middle School in National City. UCSD’s Student Educational Advancement office will administer the G.E.A.R. U.P. grant, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

Biologists closer to verifying 50-year hypothesis on cells

Embryo-development research performed on fruit flies at UCSD may prove a mathematician’s 50-year old hypothesis on cell development in humans.

UCSD biologists have observed a protein gradient in fruit fly embryos that leads to the changes in the nervous system and to other developmental changes.

In the 1950s, mathematician Alan Turing proposed that chemicals created in small amounts during the development of organisms may cause the cells to differentiate and lead to developmental changes. Such changes dictate the physical look of organisms and the placement of organs. Morphogens, the chemicals causing such changes, have been linked to the proteins observed by the researchers.

UCSD professor of biology Ethan Beir headed the research, which is featured in this month’s edition of the journal Developmental Cell.

Livermore Lab confirms new associate director

The UC Board of Regents and the National Nuclear Security Administration recently named Glenn Mara as the Associate Director for Engineering at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Mara will coordinate over 2,000 engineers, designers and technicians in the Engineering Directorate, which oversees the design and operation of many of the lab’s experimental facilities

Mara will leave his duties as the Principal Deputy Project Manager for the National Ignition Facility Program. He once served as Weaponization Program Leader and Defense Technologies Engineering Division Leader.

The University of California manages the nuclear lab for the National Nuclear Security Administration and U.S. Department of Energy.

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