Coming Distractions …
Mar 12 – RISE EVENT – It’s Time … Our Spring Fundraiser at the Arcata Community Center is this Saturday!
Apr 8-9 – District Training Assembly – Ukiah Fairgrounds
May 6-8 – RISE EVENT -Arts Arcata
May 6-8 – District 5130 Conference – Marriott Napa Valley Resort & Spa
May 29-June 1 – Rotary International Conference in Seoul, South Korea
June ? – RISE EVENT – Rotaract Color Run (More info to follow)
June 18 – RISE EVENT – 26th Arcata Oyster Festival
July 4 – RISE EVENT – Independence Day RCAS Family Comfort Station
- President Howard showed lots of photos from the previous weekend’s Charter Day celebration. It was our Club’s 24th birthday, and the Arcata Noon Club’s 90th! The Scavenger Hunt was a hoot!! Let’s do it again next year!
- Nick Torres led us in Flash Recognitions, starting with a recognition of Romi Hitchcock Tinseth and Jessica McKnight, in appreciation for all their work setting up the Charter Day event. Tami Camper noted that the Scavenger Hunt allowed us to visit many of the stores on the Plaza, which reminded us that those shops carry a lot of great items. Ian Schatz dubbed Romi the “best cat herder ever – [the Plaza View Room] was full of 50 to 60 people, and she managed in a few minutes to get us into groups”. Jessica had to leave before the festivities because her brother-in-law required an emergency appendectomy. Steve McHaney gave a shout out to Cam Appleton, who provided an overview of our Club’s first 24 years. “I learned a lot about the Club,” Steve told us, “Cam did a fabulous job.” Nick reminded us that we should let the Recognitions Committee know if you have recognizable intelligence about a fellow Sunriser (or yourself). Send the information to the Committee’s email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There’s not much left to say about the Spring Fundraiser. If you haven’t already signed up online, please do so. Remember, we are dark this Friday (no meeting only, don’t surrender to the Dark Side), but we will begin setting up the Community Center that day. It’s not too late to remind your friends and neighbors that individual tickets are still available, and we won’t turn away a business that wants a table, either! It’s an all-hands event,
President Howard with Terri Clark
as always, so let’s make it a great success!
- President Howard presented the Member Sponsor Award to Terri Clark, for bringing Deb Engs into our Club. He noted that Deb’s induction made the local paper.
Stem Cell Research at HSU
Amy Sprowles has taught cell biology and genetics at Humboldt State University for 8 years, where she is also the Co-Director of the CIRM Bridges Program and the Klamath Connections Program. Amy earned her MA in Biology from Clark University, then received her PhD in Biochemistry from Vanderbilt. She performed postdoctoral research at the UC Davis Cancer Center and the UC Davis Department of Animal Science. She spoke to us about the exciting research her students are working on at HSU.
Amy said that what she and her students are doing is “trying to harness and understand stem cell biology so we can really try and help anybody who needs it”. She said that California is the center of stem cell research in the United States. She credits that to the 2004 passage of Proposition 71, which authorized and funded stem cell research. This research is a key component of regenerative medicine, which is cell-based therapies which can treat a host of diseases.
She noted that a stem cell is an “undifferentiated” cell in the body that can create other cells of all kinds. Thus it has the potential to generate cells for any part of the body. These cells are found in virtually every type of tissue. These are normally used to regenerate the tissue where they are located. For example, stem cells in muscle tissue generally create more muscle tissue, to replace lost cells. One of the goals of stem cell research is to use these cells to replace cells lost in other locations in the body.
|Dr. Amy Sprowles|
Amy noted that anyone who has received a blood transfusion, such as a leukemia patient, has also received the stem cells contained in the donated blood. This allows the recipient’s body to regenerate cells it could not make on its own.
Although a normal adult has stem cells throughout his or her body, the total number of them is relatively small. However, Amy told us that these are the only cells that live in our bodies throughout our lives. The downside is that these cells are exposed to all the toxins, carcinogens, and other environmental bad actors we encounter in a lifetime. If the stem cells are damaged, they may mutate and create other cells that can cause cancer or other diseases.
Amy said that some of the more aggressive cancers have been shown to have been caused by cancer stem cells. Some of her students are studying glioma stem cells, in partnership with UCSF. Gliomas are cancers of the brain or spine. The researchers are trying to determine what mutations in a normal stem cell in the brain transform it into a glioma agent.
Amy’s students are examining the proteins contained in gliomas, to find specific proteins that may cause gene changes in stem cells that lead to tumor formation and growth. If they can identify those proteins and genes, the next step is to find drugs to target those genes and arrest the process. They have found, for example, that when a gene known as LGL is lost, tumors are much more likely to form.
Amy’s program is funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), and it provides undergraduate students with training in stem cell science and laboratory methods. Students are then prepared for further educational opportunities or to work as technicians in the field. The program also works in partnership with the local medical community.
Exchange Student Sophia Waern-Bugge told us that all of the District’s Outbound Exchange Students for next year came here for an orientation session. They are trying to set up another meeting with all the Outbounders who will be living in Europe. This week, she will be in Hawaii. (And next week, she will be catching up in school!)
“In my mind,” said Craig Newman, “there is no greater thing you can do than to foster and encourage young people to do community service.” To that end, our Club sponsors the North Bay Rotaract Club and co-sponsors the Arcata High School Interact Club. Rotaract Clubs are for young adults 18 to 30 years old. Craig said, “Sometimes we say it’s a ‘farm team’ for Rotary, and a number of Rotaractors have come to Rotary already.”
Co-sponsoring the AHS Interact Club is a hands-on experience. We have representatives at each of the group’s Friday meetings. Craig told us that the meeting consists of a call to order, then a quick divvying up of project responsibilities, and they take on a lot of projects! They were heavily involved in “Coats for the Cold” this year – collecting coats and raising money to purchase coats at discounts. They also sorted and delivered coats to those who needed them.
The Interactors (and the Rotaractors) were a big help at the AHS College and Career Center’s Pancake Breakfast fundraiser. Interactors will serve as models for our Spring Fundraiser’s Live Auction, and others will be the cleanup crew, both Saturday night and Sunday morning.
This year’s District Assembly will include an Interact breakout session, which will serve as the District Interact Conference as well. And two Interactors will be selected to attend Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Camp this summer.
The North Bay Rotaract Club recently won the Chili Cookoff, which benefited Big Brothers / Big Sisters, and they helped that organization again last weekend, by fielding a team for Bowl for Kids’ Sake. And as we heard the previous week, two members of their Club and two members of the Lost Coast Rotaract Club participated in a Rotaplast Mission in Bangladesh, along with other Rotarians representing our District.
“I provide housing for the homeless,” said Sunriser and