Dark - Happy Thanksgiving
Joint Meeting with Santa Monica Rotary Club
Jason Vanderpal on Leadership and Public Speaking
Holiday Program at Luxe Hotel
Christmas Shopping Trip - Contact Mike Yousem
DR. OWEN WITTE at WVRC on November 20th - RON KLEPETAR led the Pledge. The Invocation was by ART HENRY, “We are grateful for Thanksgiving, for Providence that led the founders of our nation across the seas and brought them through the meager harvest and chilly winter of that first year. We thank you for three things - for the harvest of our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, for the recognition that all are created equal and for the gift of choosing our destiny as a free people. May we maintain our collective memory of those who went before, that we may preserve the freedom of our nation. In God’s name we pray. Amen.” ART, well done makes me think you have done this sort of thing before… LENNY came forward for the song, You’re A Grand Old Flag, and except for some impreciseness on the key, we done good.
We had no Visiting Rotarians, but there were guests. PP STEVE SCHERER had a Special Guest, Wayne Koupal, an old friend and who is still active at that local Methodist Church. SUNNY came with LENNY, and PDG ANDY brought PAT. Those at the Head Table had their usual opportunity to speak without fear (does that sound right?). DAVID FRIEDMAN felt compelled to correct the impression given by one of his relatives that the original Betsy Ross Flag would be displayed at their Holiday event - tain’t so, apparently. And YOE would comment that into each life some rain must fall. PP STEVE DAY added his voice to the rising chorus of those who favor a National Playoff Game in football. And in that same vein (that means the subject is more or less the same), PP STEVE SCHERER reminded any non-believers that the Big Ten is undoubtedly the best Conference. At this point, there was a brief interchange about college basketball, the last audible statement being, “Do you want to bet a buck?” from PP JIM COLLINS. PEGGY BLOOMFIELD ended this part of the program by stating, “Not much” which, even though taken somewhat out of context, apparently signaled fini to this portion.
ELLIOTT TURNER next came forward with what could be called Inspiration with a foreign flavor (and I’ll have trouble providing accurate dialects, I fear). An Italian, a Scotsman and a Chinese are hired at a construction site. The foreman points out a huge pile of sand, and says to the Italian, “You’re in charge of sweeping”. To the Scotsman, he says, “You’re in charge of shoveling”. To the Chinese, he says, “You’re in charge of supplies.” He then adds, “I have to leave for a little while, and I expect you three to make a dent in that pile of sand.” When the foreman returns a couple of hours later, the pile of sand remains untouched. He asks the Italian, “Why didn’t you sweep any of it?” The Italian replies, “I don’t hava no broom. I looked for the Chinese guy he’s in charge of the brooms but I couldna find him nowhere”. So the foreman turned to the Scotsman. “And you, I thought I told you to shovel the sand”. The Scotsman replies, “Aye, that you did, laddie. But you need a shovel. The Chinese is in charge of supplies, but I couldn’t find him, neither.” The foreman is really angry now. He storms over to the pile of sand to look for the Chinese. Just then, the Chinese jumps out from behind the pile, “Surprise!”.
Somewhere along here, MIKE YOUSEM spoke about the forthcoming Christmas Shopping Trip, which is set for December 11th. He needed a couple more helpers, and the following signed up RON KLEPETAR, MARK ROGO, PP MIKE NEWMAN and JR DZUBAK. Editorial Thanks to you and the other hosts for that evening it really exemplifies the Spirit of Rotary.
PP BOB WESSLING, our invaluable and always-conscientious link to those toothy tigers at DePauw, now appeared with a desperately needed update. They were pitted against their oldest rival, the all-male Wabash College Little Giants. Not only were the Giants ranked # 2 in the country in Division Three, but the struggling Tigers only held a 30-0 lead at the half the final score, in favor of the Tigers, was 36 to 14! YOE feels compelled to comment that that is what happens when you let the students play the game…PP BOB reminded us all that he had tapes of the game, and anyone wishing to see it could be accommodated.
This timely announcement led President SEAN to provide us with some other football Facts and history. He began by pointing out that we, right here in Los Angeles, have a truly classic annual match up, between USC and UCLA. And in advance of our joint meeting with Santa Monica on Friday the 5th of December, the SC/UCLA contest the following day will be the entire subject of that meeting. Therefore, these facts, please:
In 1965, SC had Mike Garrett at tailback (and he won the Heisman that year), and the UCLA QB was Gary Beban at stake was the Rose Bowl. Mel Farr started things off with a 44-yard touchdown run, and the Bruins finally prevailed, 20 to 16 with two fourth quarter touchdown passes. In the Bowl, the Bruins beat # 1 ranked Michigan State, ending the season at #4, while SC finished at #9.
Then, in 1967, UCLA was ranked #1 and SC was #2 when they met. Beban was still the quarterback at UCLA, and he and O.J. Simpson of SC were both Heisman candidates. The game was tied at 14 when Beban threw another touchdown pass, but the conversion was missed. USC QB Toby Page faded back to pas, but instead handed the ball to O.J., who ran for 64 years to score. SC made the conversion, and won, 21-20. SC went on to beat Indiana in the Rose Bowl,14-3, and finished the season ranked #1. UCLA lost to Syracuse, and dropped out of the top ten. Beban won the Heisman thus the team that lost, provided the Heisman winner in each case.
But back to Friday, December 5th at Riviera with the Santa Monica Club
Here is a list of the former players who will attend: For USC, John McKay Jr, Dave Levy, Chip Stewart, and Bob Klein; For UCLA, John Peterson, Fred McNeil, and Donn Moomaw; The MC will be SC’s Lonnie White, who is a sportswriter for the L.A. Times. This is one you shouldn’t miss! PP RON LYSTER will write the Windmill.
MARK BLOCK gave us more of the future, reminding all that our December 18th meeting will be at the Luxe! It is located at Sunset and the 405. we’ve been there before. The Santa Monica Oceanaires will entertain it’s a Spouses Day!
And before we report on the program, several Health notes, please: As you know, PP JIM DOWNIE is slowly getting his blood balance back in shape; SLOS VIAU reports that Marjorie continues in her walking progress; HARLAN LEWIS remains homebound; And this just in GENE PRINDLE is recovering from a stroke. Your expression of sympathy will make YOUR day!
PEGGY BLOOMFIELD provided another excellent program, and she introduced the Speaker, Owen Witte, M.D. Dr. Witte received his undergraduate degree from Princeton, and his M.D. from Stanford. He completed postdoctoral research at MIT, and then joined the faculty at UCLA. He, literally, wears several hats Director, Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, Professor of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, President’s Chair in Developmental Immunology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. and in his spare time, is an Investigator at the UCLA/Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. He was named the Founding Director of the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Medicine in 2003, which is now named for Eli and Edythe Broad, as noted above. In 2007 he was elected as the UCLA Faculty Research Lecturer. The only thing about all this that really bothers YOE is that he is one year older than my own son!
Dr Witte had some excellent visuals during his visit with us today. He began by commenting that he didn’t realize we had so much fun he now anticipates that giving his talk will be akin to speaking before a Fraternity! His first goal today is to say THANK YOU to PEGGY BLOOMFIELD she is a Major Benefactor of Stem Cell
Research at UCLA! He will provide some history of how that area of research has developed. He also wants to compare our cooperative efforts in Rotary with what the UCLA group is doing with Stem Cells. Their objective is to develop future treatments for diseases that are not now being treated. In addition, they hope to use the cells themselves for understanding how the various diseases work.
He showed an aerial photo of UCLA in 1949, with ground just being broken for the UCLA Medical Center. (My Class of ’48 graduated in what was then the Amphitheater) He next showed a comparison photo, taken from a satellite, that shows how the whole campus is being filled in today. In 2004 and ‘05, when he began discussions with the Chancellor about where the Stem Cell program could live, it soon became obvious that they would be better served to be spread around, over much of the south campus. This has provided innumerable advantages, integrating the Institute into the entire campus. He refers to it as a Center Without Walls.
Dr. Witte next showed a chart, which indicated some of the major divisions over which he has supervision. They are dependent upon Biology, and their entire administrative function is performed as part of the Geffen School of Medicine a great saving, without having to reinvent the wheel. They have 175 faculty members, and could be described as a business, since they have money coming in and going out, with a specific job to do. Their annual budget is thirty million dollars, and this whole area of finance is not one where Dr. Witte prefers to spend his time. He next showed a list of at least thirty departments in which they have representation on campus engineering, Letters and Science, the Medical School - all in all a very broad swatch of interconnections.
Starting in 2005, they began recruiting faculty, and the twelve hired so far were the first choice of each candidate. They are a collegial group, as they must be. All of these new Assistant Professors come from prestigious institutions, and they are enthusiastic about the challenges they face and will solve! Two recent hires as full professors are world experts in what is described as Translational Medicine possibly the most difficult final objective of the Institute. Their intent is to take laboratory ideas and show how they can be applied in clinics. Very few experts exist, and we are able to attract them, which of course says volumes about the quality of the vision and resources we can provide. While they were doing excellent work at Children’s Hospital in LA, they felt they could do even better work using the breath of possibilities and facilities here at UCLA.
A constant concern is education sharing what they learn with not only the academic community but also the general public. Once a year they gather a Symposium, in which the audience of 400 crowds into the largest auditorium for a day of reports by world leaders in their fields. This is an example of how donors such as PEGGY can be so helpful it would not be possible without their support. This elicited a nice round of applause for PEGGY, as it should have. He quoted Donald Cram, a Nobel prize-winning professor in Chemistry: “ Never think you can separate research and education.”
A brand new building is the Basic Science Research Building. They have about twenty labs there. The tallest building on campus is the Jonson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the nearby Factor Building also have Stem Cell work going on. One of their very specialized facilities is called the GMT. This is the only academic facility in the State of California where they can take cells, handle them in a way that specifies to the FDA and California regulations, process them, use them in a clinical trial, and then put them back into people. This work is being supervised by Judy Gaston and others. It costs a lot of money to build them and to maintain them, but without these facilities they cannot attain their goals. Another building, next to Hershey Hall on Hilgard, is under construction and will support life sciences at UCLA. Dr. Witte (and his colleagues, he says) wrote a grant proposal that brought in twenty million dollars to help construct this facility, so they have one entire floor just for their use.
That about covers the nuts and bolts of Stem Cell Research, but note that you still need personnel, administration and space in which to operate. The major difference here is that they deal with New Knowledge, a new way of thinking about something. This means when a scientist comes up with a new idea, it usually becomes a very complicated project thus no single scientist can do the job by himself. This multi-discipline approach is their specialty.
A caution here we must understand something about Stem Cells (and we were assured there would be no test at the end thank goodness!) What are the two very important properties of Stem Cells? First, they can make more of themselves (called stem renewal). Without that ability, you would eventually run out of material, as it is used up. In addition to making more of themselves, they need to make what are called differentiated cells that is, hair, skin, blood, liver, etc which are each made by different cells. Another variety are embryonic stem cells this is the type that is sometimes controversial. Some people feel it is inappropriate to use these, since they come from the product of a sperm meeting an egg.
There is now a completely new technique, in which they can take a cell from your arm, for instance. Then, by adding a very small number of genetic manipulations, turn it back into what is called an IPS cell. This product is exactly the same as an embryonic stem cell! This should eliminate any controversy over the use of embryonic stem cells, since we can now manufacture cells that can turn into every type of cell in the body. A major academic award is being given out tomorrow on the UCLA campus, honoring researchers from Wisconsin, MIT, and Japan, who have invented this wonderful technique.
As a biologist, Dr.Witte is fully aware that once you have an idea, you then need engineers to turn the idea into reality The definition of getting something to work, by the way, means turning the idea into something a physician can give to a patient. In order to be workable, you must be able to miniaturize your product, called micro fluidics. So it is now possible, with a TV screen and a microscope, to study something as tiny as a single cell! The CAD program, which originally was introduced to drive the creation of microchips, is being applied now to design circuitry for cells. (You know, EACH sentence here should be followed by an explanation point they are all so revolutionary!) The entire procedure is kept on a small chip which has been designed by a combination of engineers, physicists, computer scientists and biologists.
When you produce such a cell, many people come forward to help those working on diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, spinal damage to name just a few so the collaboration benefits everyone. This brings up Dr. Witte’s major goal how do you get this information from the laboratory into the clinic? First, you must have facilities to process those cells that are compatible with the regulatory agencies that oversee these activities. At UCLA they are cleared to conduct Phase Two trials, something that was only done by large commercial labs in the past.
His final example was one of his own programs involving investigators from Cal Tech, Children’s Hospital, the University of Conn., USC, and a bunch of people here at UCLA. This involves a way of treating cancer that is entirely new but it indicates the importance of what stem cell research can do. Dr. Witte pointed out that this progress started fifteen years ago and, speaking editorially, YOE would say that his entire presentation illustrates where science can lead us. We thank you, Dr. Owen Witte.
Closing Words of Wisdom Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good.