… GTTA maps out Youth Olympic Games qualification plansJUNIOR table tennis player, Miguel Wong, is scheduled to leave Guyana for the Dominican Republic, later this week to participate in the May 12-14 Latin American tournament, as he begins preparations to qualify for next year’s Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.Wong’s participation at this YOG Latin American Qualification Tournament is part of the Guyana Table Tennis Association’s deliberate plan to see Wong either qualify for the YOG or at least garner a Universality Place to participate as an unqualified athlete.In a press release yesterday, the GTTA informed that they had already submitted Wong’s name to the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), to notify of his selection as a YOG prospect.“Miguel is a talented, disciplined athlete; one who the association feels has a long term future in the sport and the potential to reach higher levels if given the correct nurturing support and exposure,” a press release from the GTTA conveyed.“His exposure to this event will truly augment his development, (and) his international ranking, which would assist Guyana’s chances of doing well in future engagements and so this would represent a long-term investment in one of our brighter prospect for the future.”GTTA noted that while Wong was not the only prospect they were eyeing, there could be only one nominee, saying that Nickolus Romain has also been showing potential worth investing in.Wong’s participation is just the beginning of the plans that the GTTA hopes to see in his development. Wong will be a representative team member at the II South American Youth Games scheduled for September 2017, as well as the Pan American Junior and Cadet Games qualifier.The GTTA is also hoping to have Wong participate at other events on the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) junior circuit. Participating in more events on the ITTF junior circuit will also increase the 16-year-old’s chances of selection to the ITTF ‘With the Future in Mind’ Road to Buenos Aires Olympic Solidarity Athlete Scholarships, which offers “high-level training to a limited number of young, talented athletes, who have a strong potential and who have already demonstrated a good standard”.Hence, even if Wong does not qualify at this weekend’s tournament he will have other opportunities on the road to qualification for the YOG.However, attendance at this weekend’s continental tournament is compulsory.
In all fairness, the Trojans put up a fight.That seems to be the season-long trend that has afflicted this year’s USC men’s basketball team. Game in and game out the Trojans (10-13, 1-9 Pac-12) have shown flashes of brilliance, putting together stretches where it seemed as if head coach Andy Enfield’s squad had finally put it together.Worthy effort · Junior guard Byron Wesley led all scorers on Saturday night with 27 points, but could not push his team past UCLA. Wesley excited the home crowd by making four consecutive three-pointers in the first half. – JoJo Korsh | Daily TrojanUnfortunately, paradise for these Trojans does not last, and, more often than not, the brilliance is followed by borderline basketball incompetence. This time around, the Trojans lost their promising halftime lead just minutes after the break.Saturday’s clash with crosstown rival UCLA (18-5, 7-3) was no different.The Trojans came firing out of the gate, building a double digit lead off of some stellar outside shooting and great defensive work. Junior guard Byron Wesley was once again impressive, finishing the first half with 18 points, going 4-4 from beyond the arc en route to a 27-point performance. Wesley’s scoring tally led both teams.The wheels came off in the second half for USC, though, with the Bruins finding their footing from outside and the Trojans losing their composure on offense. UCLA went on a 14-1 run early in the second half to build a 13-point cushion, and coasted to the finish on their way to an 83-73 win over USC and a season sweep of their rivals.Enfield, visibly frustrated with his team’s performance in conference play this year, was complimentary of his opponent. The Trojans’ head coach gave UCLA credit for the win.“They have exceptional players,” Enfield said. “They’re very well-coached, and they played at an extremely high level today.”The former Florida Gulf Coast coach, however, did note his team’s inability to respond to runs like the Bruins had in the second half as a major issue plaguing the Trojans.“Teams have gone on runs and we haven’t been able to stop them,” Enfield said. “We need to handle those runs a little better.”Fans and players alike are finding it difficult to find silver linings in these conference losses. The Trojans are dead last in the Pac-12, meaning they have a likely first round date with juggernauts Arizona or UCLA in the conference tournament looming ahead. Enfield was aware of his team’s tendency to keep games close — only to end up losing when time expires.“We’ve been ‘in’ a lot of games we lost,” Enfield said. “I know our players are frustrated but they are working hard.”Freshman forward Nikola Jovanovic has been one of the few bright spots on this year’s squad, and, like most of the players, is choosing to look ahead to the next game instead of dwelling on the mounting losses. The first-year player out of Serbia preached Enfield’s message of improving as a team.“We just need to play more as a team and be focused,” Jovanovic said. “Just team effort.”Jovanovic, Wesley and every member of this year’s squad have put forth considerable effort in attempting to turn USC into a contender.Enfield was brought in not only to help with that task, but to bring excitement back to USC basketball and bring fans into the Galen Center.Many fans did show up on Saturday, and the Trojans had a prime chance to give their long-suffering loyalists a glimmer of hope for the future.Instead, USC showed once again that it is not on the same level as the conference elite, and the Trojan faithful went home disappointed.USC will stay at the Galen Center for their next set of games, hosting the Utah Runnin’ Utes on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and the Colorado Buffaloes on Sunday at 5 p.m. The Trojans will still be seeking an elusive second conference victory. The USC men’s basketball team suffered another conference loss Saturday night at the Galen Center when they fell to the visiting UCLA Bruins, 83-73.
By Jon CohenJun. 13, 2019 , 6:15 AM Weissman, a physicist who morphed into a protein-folding specialist, specializes in using CRISPR to construct large-scale probes of gene functions. “We don’t have the capability, the knowledge, or the resources to develop drugs,” he says. “I’m trying to understand what are the problems that [GSK is] facing and what are the tools that would really solve the problem. As a tool builder, my biggest fear is we build a bridge to nowhere.”In all, London-based GSK will fund 24 full-time UC researchers—only some of whom will come from Doudna’s and Weissman’s labs. GSK will contribute as many as 14 of its own employees. UC will own the intellectual property (IP) of any new tools invented in the lab, while GSK hopes to patent new drug targets. UC will receive a “financial benefit if a drug that requires licensed IP comes to market,” a GSK spokesperson says, noting that the exact terms are “confidential.”Hal Barron, GSK’s chief scientific officer, says 90% of genes still have opaque functions. He hopes that by using CRISPR to knock out or turn on genes in cells and animal models, the LGR will be able to double the number of genes with known functions. “Think about the impact of that as being able to develop twice as many drugs,” Barron says.Other academics who have had similar partnerships said they are useful, but can be tricky. “Overall, the model is great and the [CRISPR] space is ripe for innovation that’s not fundamental biology or chemistry but an engineering problem,” says UC San Francisco’s Jeffrey Bluestone, an immunologist who for the past 9 years has taken part in a collaboration between the school and Pfizer. The challenge, he says, is that there can be a “disconnect” when there’s a discovery about a potential drug that targets a disease not in the company’s portfolio.The Harvard Stem Cell Institute took part in a collaboration with GSK between 2008 and 2013 to develop new drug targets for regenerative medicine. “It was a really great interaction,” says Harvard stem cell biologist David Scadden, who notes it ended because GSK got out of the regenerative medicine business. “Having academics who are bilingual in terms of understanding how companies have to think as they develop products is a good thing,” he says.The lab, located at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus, is already up and running. A new university-pharma alliance will use the genome editor CRISPR (red) to edit DNA (blue and yellow strands) in order to identify drug targets. Top CRISPR researchers at two University of California (UC) campuses have teamed up with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to form a new laboratory in San Francisco that will exploit the genome editor to screen for new drugs.Drawing on a GSK commitment of $67 million over 5 years, UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna, a co-inventor of the powerful CRISPR tool, and UC San Francisco’s Jonathan Weissman will select the academic talent to work in the new Laboratory for Genomics Research (LGR). “This is really, for us as academics, kind of a dream come true,” Doudna says.Although Doudna has already co-founded two CRISPR-related companies and co-runs the Innovative Genomics Institute with Weissman, she says the LGR “takes the not very interesting parts of the screening efforts out of the picture.” A friend who visited her lab a few years ago described it as “artisanal,” she recalls and wondered why they weren’t using more automation. “It was a nice way of saying that it seems really fusty,” Doudna says. She hopes the LGR will allow them to use “genome editing and CRISPR, in particular, as a tool to understand the causes of disease in a way that had really never been possible in the past.” Meletios/shutterstock University of California CRISPR researchers form drug discovery alliance with pharma giant