Briefs

? UCSD Researcher Mana Parast, MD, Ph.D, was awarded a $3 million grant by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to continue her research for treatments of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and abnormal kidney function. The condition affects 5 to 8 percent of all pregnancies, leads to a significant number of maternal deaths, and is the main reason for premature delivery. Parast’s work focuses on the trophoblast stem cells that make up the placenta, the temporary organ that connects a mother to her unborn baby. Her lab has successfully created the first human trophoblast cell model that can be used to study the developmental stages of the placenta.

? World-famous musician, composer, performer and UCSD Regents’ professor Ravi Shankar died at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The Indian sitarist was 92. Shankar underwent a heart valve replacement surgery last month. Along with his influence on the Beatles and world music, his achievements include five Grammy Awards, the Praemium Imperiale (akin to a Japanese Nobel Prize for music) and the prestigious appointment as Regents’ professor at UCSD.

? Katang, a dog who saved two children from a moving vehicle in the Philippines, may have beaten cancer. The dog faced serious injuries to her muzzle after jumping in front of a speeding motorcycle, saving her owner’s daughter and niece, who were crossing the street. Karen Kenngott, a nurse from Buffalo, N.Y., helped raise the necessary money for surgery through an online campaign. The dog, hospitalized at UC Davis, will also need to be treated for the heartworms in her arteries before she receives the necessary cosmetic surgery.

? Two 24-year-old UC Berkeley law students were charged with killing an exotic bird in a Las Vegas casino. Justin Teixeira was charged with felony killing and felony torturing of an animal, while Eric Cuellar has been charged with the misdemeanor of instigating, engaging in or furthering an act of animal cruelty. Video surveillance shows Teixeira and Cuellar chasing a 14-year-old helmeted guineafowl into a group of trees at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, and witnesses reported the pair leaving with the corpse. If convicted, the two men could face up to four years in prison and a $1000 fine.

? Authorities are reporting that a Lakeside, Calif. woman who neighbors saw dragging her mother into a burning house on Tuesday evening will face jail time. The single story house on Lakeview Granada Drive in Lakeside caught fire around 4:30 p.m., the local fire department said. Officials detained 41-year-old Neomi Rodriguez on charges that include arson, assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm), elder abuse, attempting to prevent a victim from calling the police, and attempted murder. Court records reaffirmed close friends’ and neighbors’ suspicions of Rodriguez’s volatile relationship with her mother, Kazuko Martinez.

? The man suspected of killing a woman in Lemon Grove on Thursday, Jan. 3, was found more than 1,000 miles away in Happy Valley, Oregon. Casey Tschida is accused of shooting Jennifer Krajnak in the head early in the morning. Krajnak was found lying on the street, bleeding from the head. She was taken to Mercy Hospital, where she succumbed to her wound. Tschida and Krajnak had been socializing at a bar prior to the murder. Tschida approached and shot Krajnak as she walked home. Tschida left the scene and drove to Happy Valley, Oregon, where his mother lives.

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