Each year the ARCS San Diego Chapter has special events and field trips of a scientific nature to inform our members about the latest developments in science and technology.
November 2, 2023: Field Trip to Sally Ride Research Vessel
Several ARCS members and friends were treated to a fascinating tour of the Sally Ride Research Vessel in Point Loma in early November. Kudos to Leslie Bruce, Jayne Lindberg, and Elizabeth Taft for organizing this field trip, and many thanks to Mike Roeder for taking these photos for all of us to enjoy!
R/V Sally Ride is operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography under a charter agreement with the Office of Naval Research. Part of America’s Academic Research Fleet, the Sally Ride is a shared-use research facility within the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), serving scientists and students from across the United States.
October 24, 2023: Fall General Meeting
On a beautiful autumn morning, 44 ARCS Members and 13 new Scholars gathered at the La Jolla Country Club for our Fall General Meeting; a particular favorite for our members, because much of it is devoted to meeting our new Scholars.
Our President, Kathe Albrecht, presided over the meeting, which began with an introduction of our new members by Laurie Roeder (VP, Membership) followed by brief “elevator speeches” from all of our VP’s in which they described their roles and the make-up of their committees. Next, Robin Luby gave a pitch for the Member Giving Campaign with the goal of 100% member participation. And finally, Ingrid Benirschke-Perkins (VP, Marketing & Communications), revealed our 2024 Scientist of the Year Honoree – Dr. Terry Sejnowski – and invited everyone to the 2024 SOY Celebration, which is set for April 27, 2024 (4-8 pm) at The Conrad Performing Arts Center in La Jolla.
Then the fun began when Catie Madani (VP, University Relations) invited the University Liaisons to step forward one-by-one and introduce the new Scholars from our four academic partners (SDSU, Scripps Research, UCSD, and USD). For the next 45 minutes we got to hear from each Scholar; a bit about their research and a bit about their personal lives. Their dedication to their research and their desire to give back to society at such a young age inspires us all!
We were then treated to a delicious lunch of macadamia-crusted chicken with rice and asparagus, followed by a traditional apple pie. Members and Scholars continued to mingle well after the conclusion of the meeting and we all went home feeling uplifted and proud to be an ARCS member!
Kudos and thanks to Leslie Bruce, Sue Kalish, Alexis Lasheras, and Barbara Doren for organizing such a memorable meeting!
August 31, 2023: Field Trip to UCSD Shake Table
On a beautiful Thursday morning in August, seventeen of our members went on a field trip to the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center at UC San Diego, better known as the “UCSD Shake Table”!
Our hosts and tour guides were Koorosh Lotfizadeh, PhD and Director of the Center; Abdullah Hamid, R&D Engineer and Site Supervisor; and Robert Beckley, IT specialist and photographer. We toured the facility for two hours. The site is a multi-acre area east of I-15, that has the feel of a military or high-security facility. We donned hard-hats, were reminded to watch out for rattle snakes and learned more about engineering than many of us thought possible!
The UC San Diego shake table/earthquake simulator is the largest outdoor shake table in the world and is unique and iconic. Visitors come from around the world to see and watch it, study its data and learn.
The Table was designed in 2001-2002 by UCSD engineers in collaboration with MTS Systems Corp. and the Center opened in 2004. The Center tests the structural and nonstructural effects of natural disasters including earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters. The goal is to advance science and practices surrounding natural hazards and educate future generations of engineers and other scientists. The Center also promotes student learning and opportunities to make STEM more accessible to students. The Center has various academic partners and also commercial partners. Part of its funding comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The Table is undoubtedly the premiere focus of the Center but the Center also has one of the country’s largest facilities for testing soil structure reactions to earthquakes and other disasters.
Our thanks to Sue Kalish for her diligence in working with UCSD and the Center and scheduling our trip. Jayne Lindberg also deserves kudos for finding the best lunch spot in the Poway-RB area and simplifying the ordering and payment processes. Thank you to both of you and also to Leslie Bruce for her leadership! We appreciate all of you!
June 6, 2023: Summer General Meeting
The June 6 General Meeting was a huge success, with 57 members in attendance. It was a celebratory meeting as we closed an ARCS year full of accomplishments, successes, and wonderful learning experiences. President Kathe Albrecht commended the entire chapter for their important roles in making these successes possible.
We began with an informative business meeting which summarized the chapter’s activities this year. As part of the meeting, the membership voted on the 2023-2024 slate of officers and Kathe thanked the current board for their hard work on behalf of the chapter. She presented small gifts to each of the outgoing board members: Rachel Collins, Holly Heaton, Pat Judd, Robin Luby, and Helga Moore.
After the meeting and before lunch was served, members had a few minutes of informal time to catch up with old friends, new members, and guests. We then heard from our two speakers. Dwayne Roach explained the important research that his lab is conducting on phage therapies, a ground-breaking treatment that tackles tough antibiotic-resistant infectious diseases. It was eye-opening to hear about new developments, and to learn about the short time frame scientists work in to stay ahead of infections that are developing resistance to existing therapies.
Dwayne then introduced our ARCS Scholar Tiffany Luong, one of the doctoral students working in his lab. She spoke about the application of the phage therapies, the process the lab goes through in order to get the innovative therapies to the patients. Dwayne and Tiffany fielded questions from the audience afterward.
The ARCS members and guests would have kept them there for longer, but it was time to adjourn our culminating general meeting of the year.
Heartfelt thanks to Laurie Roeder for capturing these record shots from the meeting!
May 7, 2023: Scientist of the Year Celebration
What a joy to be back in person to celebrate our 2023 Scientist of the Year (SOY) and our 2022-2023 Scholars...in the warm and intimate setting of The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla, no less!
The event began with hors d’oeuvres and drinks in the Wu Tsai Courtyard and the JAI, and then moved into the main Baker-Baum Concert Hall where President Kathe Albrecht welcomed the audience with some opening remarks, followed by the traditional Scholar processional, accompanied by trumpeter Kevin Yturralde. We were then treated to a wonderful video collage, created by Project Manager Extraordinaire Rob Healey, which introduced each of this year’s Scholars.
Next we heard a short talk by ARCS Scholar Alumnus, Dr. Forest Rohwer, a renowned marine microbial ecologist, who made a few humorous barbs about this year’s SOY selection. Mary Ann Beyster, whose family foundation is a longtime supporter of both ARCS and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, then introduced the 2023 Scientist of the Year, Dr. Margaret Leinen. For the next 20 minutes, we were enthralled by Dr. Leinen’s keynote speech, in which she reaffirmed the importance of ocean research for our future.
The event concluded with a selection of tasty desserts in the Wu Tsai Courtyard, where guests had the opportunity to mingle with our speakers, Scholars, and friends. Many ARCS members remarked that it was “the best SOY event ever”!
Hearty congratulations go to the SOY Committee Co-Chairs Kristin Boyd and Gwynn Thomas and committee members Kathe Albrecht, Cathie Atkins, Ingrid Benirschke-Perkins, Rachel Collins, Toby Eisenberg, Doris Ellsworth, Susan Hylton, Karen Ludwig, Lisa Perich, and Laurie Roeder!
To watch the Scholar video highlights enjoyed at the SOY Celebration (11 Minutes), click HERE
For the Full Versions of the Scholar Videos (23 minutes), click HERE
April 12, 2023: Field Trip to San Diego Botanic Garden
Kudos to Elizabeth Taft for organizing a delightful field trip to the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas! Members first heard presentations from three of their lead scientists: CEO Ari Novy, PhD; Director of Medicinal Plants Research, Ben Naman, PhD; and Senior Director of Science and Conservation, Colin Khoury, PhD, followed by a walking tour of the gardens. Afterward, several members gathered for a delicious lunch of pot pies, hand pies and salads at Elizabethan Desserts & The 50’s Cafe.
January 24, 2023: Winter General Meeting
Nothing is more gratifying than following the “career arc” of one our esteemed Scholar alumni. On a beautiful January afternoon, at our Winter General Meeting, 50+ ARCS San Diego members were treated to a passionate and informative talk on ‘Palliative Care: A Public Health Priority’ delivered by Caroline Etland, PhD, RN, ACHPN, who received her ARCS Scholar Award in 2006-2008 at USD’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science.
Dr. Etland’s presentation was followed by several chapter highlights such as new member introductions, member giving totals, Scientist of the Year Celebration planning, and the 2022-2023 ARCS Light Award, which went to past president Holly Heaton. We are all so grateful for Holly’s commitment, leadership, and support of ARCS, which is now a model for other chapters across the country!
We also heard some wonderful reminiscences from two of our founders – Karen Bowden and Barbara McColl – and several of our Charter Members, while enjoying a delicious lunch at the La Jolla Country Club. Everyone went home feeling uplifted and proud of ARCS San Diego, its amazing members, and its impressive impact on STEM research and education!
October 25, 2022: Fall General Meeting
49 ARCS Members and 13 new Scholars arrived at the La Jolla Country Club (LJCC) for our Fall General Meeting. It was so wonderful to see friends and catch up. The doors opened to table settings and centerpieces in glorious fall colors.
Our President, Kathe Albrecht, was the M.C. She thanked Barbara Doren whose membership allowed us to use the LJCC and Priscilla Moxley and her committee for the meeting arrangements. She then greeted us with news from the recent National Meeting in Atlanta.
Ellen Moxham, our ARCS Light, shared her experience of being honored with other "Lights" from different branches. Pat Judd, VP of University Relations, introduced the Liaisons from our 4 schools, UCSD, SDSU, USD and Scripps Research. They in turn introduced their Scholars each of whom spoke briefly about their research projects. This was the highlight of the luncheon as each one gave a brief talk about their research projects.
The delicious cornucopia salad was then served with a rich chocolate brownie with caramel sauce and ice cream for dessert.
The ambiance was in full swing with many lingering after the luncheon to visit. The weather was gorgeous as was the setting of the room at the LJCC.
September 28, 2022: Field Trip to La Jolla Institute for Immunology
ARCS San Diego was treated to an amazing guided tour of several labs at La Jolla Institute for Immunology with two ARCS Scholars leading the way: Gabriel Ascui-Gac and Sonya Haupt. We also had a quick introduction to the newly opened John and Susan Major Center for Clinical Investigation, which has greatly expanded the Institute’s capacity to collect human blood samples, which are vital to study allergies, vaccines as well as infectious, autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.
Our visit was capped off by a fascinating talk by none other than Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire, our 2021 Scientist of the Year, about women’s health research.
Heartfelt thanks to Kelsey Dale, Vice President of Advancement, and her team, for the warm welcome and for organizing this inspiring tour!
June 9, 2022: Summer General Meeting
What a joy to close out the fiscal year in person at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club for the Summer June General Meeting! 52 ARCS members and guests signed up for the luncheon and Holly Heaton presided over the final meeting of her 3-year tenure.
Laurie Roeder began by introducing our newest members. Holly then proceeded to thank members of the Board of Directors who had worked alongside her over the past few years, while repeatedly exclaiming that “it takes a village”! Next she introduced the 2022-2023 Slate of Officers, who were unanimously approved by the group. Rachel Collins followed with a surprise tribute to Holly and presented her with a beautiful orchid and Swell bottle, adorned with the ARCS logo, in thanks for her dedication and leadership. Everyone applauded enthusiastically!
After the business portion of the meeting, we moved to the science presentations. Sonya Haupt, 2021-2022 ARCS Scholar at UCSD/LJI gave us a crash course in evaluating HIV vaccine strategies in mice and then expressed her sincere thanks for the critical support she had received from ARCS this past year.
Dr. Ivor Royston
Next up was Dr. Ivor Royston, CEO of Viracta Therapeutics and our 2006 Scientist of the Year. who took us back to 1978 when he founded Hybritech, San Diego’s first biotech company. He then compared and contrasted the biotech scene in San Diego today, 44 years later. He emphasized the need for three core pillars of strength in order to be a successful biotech company: capital, management, entrepreneurship.
It was then time to for a delicious 3-course lunch and friendly conversation with fellow ARCS members. We all remarked how much more enjoyable it was to meet in person versus on Zoom!
April 24, 2022: Scientist of the Year Virtual Event
Our third virtual gala event spotlights our esteemed Scientist of the Year, Dr. Ardem Patapoutian, while highlighting our Scholars, Scholar Alumni and wonderful sponsors. If you missed the live stream or would like to see it again, please visit the Event Landing Page to watch the recorded event and view the program material.
February 23, 2022: Music, Evolution, and Animal Responses to Music
Is human musicality an innate ability or a cultural invention? This was one of many intriguing questions Dr. Aniruddh (Ani) Patel, Professor of Psychology at Tufts University, explored with us during his fascinating 1-hr talk, which focused on the cognitive, neural, and evolutionary foundations of music. A lively Q&A followed, moderated by our own Sue Dramm.
For those who missed this special event, you can view the entire recording HERE:
January 31, 2022: Winter General Meeting
The Winter General Meeting of the San Diego chapter of ARCS was hosted by president Holly Heaton. New members were introduced by Laurie Roeder. Our two guest speakers were Annika Nelson, manager of the new UCSD Craft Center, and our current Scholar, Hailee Perrett, who describes her work at Scripps Research in "Science Communication through Visual Media". Following the introductions and presentations, we come to the highlight of our meeting, the ARCS Light award presented by June Chocheles. Watch to find out who the 2021 ARCS Light Member is. A brief business meeting wraps up the gathering after discussion about Joan Evangelou, who passed away this month. She was a dear friend and inspiring ARCS member for many years, recently highlighted in an ARCS news article. Her connections throughout the membership were shared by all.
To watch the business portion of the meeting CLICK HERE.
To view Hailee Perrett's presentation, CLICK HERE.
December 5, 2021: Holiday Party
Major kudos to Margaret Dudas and her team, Doris Ellsworth, Toby Eisenberg, Priscilla Moxley and Joy Frye for planning and executing our Holiday Party at the San Diego Yacht Club. The setting, food, and especially the in-person camaraderie were perfect, especially after almost two years of remote living! It was the second wonderful in-person event that Margaret and her team provided in the past four months at a time that being together was so special and appreciated. Thank you!!
November 18, 2021: COVID's Toll on Taste and Smell
One of the many mysteries surrounding COVID-19 is the peculiar side effect of patients losing their sense of taste and smell. In the medical field, it’s called anosmia. A less publicized side effect that follows many COVID-19 patients is parosmia which is when scents and flavors become distorted, e.g., lemons may taste like sewage! There's been relatively little research into anosmia and parosmia, which until the recent pandemic have been exceptionally rare. That's left the thousands of patients experiencing these symptoms feeling confused, isolated and hopeless. To learn more about what’s being done for sufferers and what they can do for themselves, ARCS San Diego is thrilled to invite you to a special virtual “field trip” to UC San Diego on Thursday, Nov 18 from 10:30 - 11:45am Pacific where Dr. Carol Yan, a physician and researcher at UC San Diego, and Julie Carty, one of her patients, tell the story.
The Fall General Meeting is a particular favorite for ARCS members, because much of it is devoted to meeting our new Scholars. Given the ongoing pandemic, we had no choice but to hold the meeting via Zoom, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm and excitement among those who attended. This year we were delighted to hear from 32 new Scholars (SDSU-7; Scripps Research-5; UCSD-18; USD-2), each of whom gave a brief overview of their research and personal interests. As always, we were so impressed by their many accomplishments, their desire to give back to society, and their balanced approach to a healthy life. We look forward to getting to know them better during the year ahead.
For those who missed the meeting, you can still view the Scholar presentations HERE.
September 28, 2021: Cyber Security - Best Practices
Mark Rotarius is the Operations Manager and Senior Engineer at Fortress Networx and he treated us to a 1-hour Zoom presentation on the important and timely topic of “Cyber Security: Best Practices for Personal Computers and Devices.” We learned about phishing attacks, data protection, malware, creating strong passwords and more.
Mark was also kind enough to include a handout (The 8 Layers of Defense Checklist) which you may download by clicking HERE.
June 8, 2021: Summer General Meeting
ARCS San Diego closed out the fiscal year with a full business agenda and a healthy dose of science...via Zoom, of course! After introducing our three new members - Sue Dramm, Sharon Lerner, India Mittag - and voting in the slate of officers for 2021-2022, pictured HERE, we were treated to two wonderful presentations from a Scholar alum and current Scholar, both at Scripps Research:
Travis Young, PhD
VP of Biologics at Calibr (California Institute for Biomedical Research)
at Scripps Research and 2009-2010 ARCS Scholar at SR
gave a 1/2-hour talk entitled “Bench to Bedside Immunotherapy.”
2020-2021 ARCS Scholar at Scripps Research
followed up with a 10-minute talk on
“Autophage: What Is It and Why Do We Care About It?”
We closed out the meeting with several updates on past activities, including the incredibly successful SOY Event, Membership Giving Campaign, and Scholar Picnic. Holly reiterated how proud she was of all that was accomplished during this exceptionally challenging year. Congratulations, all around!
If you who missed the meeting, you can still view the Scholar presentations HERE.
May 20, 2021: A Virtual Visit to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dr. Curtis Padgett, Supervisor for the Perception Systems Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and ARCS Scholar at UC San Diego back in 1992, guided us on our final virtual field trip of the year. He provided a wonderful overview of recent research in the Perception Area of the Robotics Section at JPL, including technology development for aerial, sea surface, and future sensing applications. After a half-hour Q&A, moderated by Holly Heaton, our time was up and we all went away feeling awed and inspired by the advanced technology at JPL. We were also delighted that several ARCS members from other chapters, as well as several ARCS Scholars, joined us for this special presentation.
May 13, 2021: A Virtual Visit to Sharp Hip Preservation Center
ARCS San Diego was honored to host a special virtual presentation on “Hypermobility: The High Price of Being Very Flexible,” by Dr. Richard Santore, an esteemed orthopedic surgeon affiliated with Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego. Dr. Santore told us about the often misunderstood and misdiagnosed condition of hypermobility. He explained how this seemingly innocuous ability dramatically impacts lives for better and for worse, while discussing strategies he has been developing for resuming a normal life. We also heard from two of Dr. Santore’s patients, who literally “got their lives back” thanks to Dr. Santore’s ground-breaking treatment.
Click on the video below to watch the entire presentation, including the Q&A, on YouTube.
April 25, 2021: Scientist of the Year Virtual Event
Our second virtual gala event spotlights our esteemed Scientist of the Year, Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire, while highlighting our Scholars, Scholar Alumni and wonderful sponsors. If you missed the live stream or would like to see it again, please visit the Event Landing Page to watch the recorded event and view the program material.
February 25, 2021: A Virtual Visit to Scripps Institution of Oceanography
ARCS San Diego embarked on its second virtual “field trip” via Zoom in late February. This time we were treated to an inside peek at ARCS Scholar Jessica Ng’s work at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in the lab of Jeff Severinghaus, which is part of the Geosciences Research Division at SIO.
Jessica’s research reconstructing past groundwater levels has taken her to the Andean Highlands of Chile and Argentina, where lithium mining for electric vehicle batteries is threatening limited water resources and Indigenous communities, and eastern Oregon, where local communities and tribes are seeking sustainable water use in the face of industrial agriculture. Jessica talked about some of her experiences in the field and also showed us some of the instrumentation she uses in the lab. She then answered a number of questions posed by ARCS members and Scholars, and closed with a few personal insights on her activities outside of work.
Click the Video Below to Watch
January 25, 2021: Winter General Meeting
To kick off our Winter General Meeting, we invited two ARCS Scholars to talk about their ocean research. Dr. Jeffrey Drazen (1997 ARCS Scholar at UCSD/SIO), currently professor of oceanography at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Honolulu, presented a 1/2-hr talk on “Understanding the Environmental Risks of Deep Sea Mining.” We learned just how little is known about the deep sea, much less the potential destruction to the ecosystem as a result of deep sea mining. Dr. Drazen showed us many slides of creatures never before seen by man, which are now at risk. He also played a short video which demonstrated the use of remotely-operated vehicles (ROV) that he and his team use to capture and examine specimens at the bottom of the ocean.
Channing Prend (2020-2021 ARCS Scholar at UCSD/SIO) followed with a short presentation about his work with robotics and autonomous systems to collect data from the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. Channing tuned in from Paris, where he was working with collaborators at LOCEAN (Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat: Expérimentations et Approches Numériques) to prepare for a research cruise to the Southern Ocean. In fact, he spoke to us just two days before his departure!
Each talk was followed by a lively Q&A and we all went away feeling enlightened and enriched. For those of you who missed these fascinating talks about the ocean, you can view them both on YouTube.
Jeffrey Drazen, PhD
December 18, 2020: Virtual Home for the Holidays Event
The holiday spirit was alive and well among the members of ARCS San Diego despite the coronavirus pandemic. This year, with Rachel Collins as our guide, we gathered online to share our holiday traditions, our favorite holiday recipes, our favorite Bûche de Noël (with demonstrations), our most outrageous ugly Christmas sweaters, and some holiday greetings from our newest members.
Click the image below to relive the fun:
November 16, 2020: Removing Disease as a Roadblock to Conservation
Three scientists, all former ARCS Scholars, who now work for the Disease Investigations Group at the San Diego Zoo Global, will guide us through their efforts to remove disease as a roadblock to wildlife conservation. Presenters: Patricia Gaffney, DVM, PhD, MPVM, DACVP, Steven Kubiski, DVM, PhD, DACVP, Caroline Moore, DVM, PhD.
Click the Video Below to watch the Tour
September 20, 2020: Scientist of the Year Virtual Event
This was our first virtual event and we thank everyone for making it such a success. Please visit the Event Landing Page to see the event program and watch the full recorded event celebrating our 2020 Scientist of the Year, Dr. Paul Schimmel.
Photos from Past Events
Field trip to J. Craig Venter Institute
Field Trip to San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research
Merriment, Martinis and Masters
2017 ARCS Holiday Party at the Timken Museum
Scholars present their work at our annual Scientist of the Year Dinner
Field trip to Scripps Research
2018 ARCS Foundation All Member Conference in Washington, D. C.