Rotary speaker untangles web of human DNA and therapeutic approaches

Randy Gard/Rotary Club of Los Altos
Robert Booth, president and CEO of Virobay Inc., offers members of the Rotary Club of Los Altos a rundown on DNA and tapping into its potential to cure diseases.

A noted pharmacologist offered members of the Rotary Club of Los Altos a crash course on human DNA and the discovery of new therapeutic approaches at their Jan. 21 meeting.

Robert Booth, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Menlo Park-based Virobay Inc., described DNA as a staircaselike structure comprising four basic chemicals – adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine – arranged in particular sequences that produce proteins through the intermediary of RNA in all plants and animals.


Princess Project offers prom dresses for girls low on cash

Courtesy of Apala Egan
As a member of the local National Charity League chapter, Jenny Carmel helped less-fortunate peers secure prom dresses through the nonprofit organization The Princess Project.

As a member of the Stanford Hills Chapter of the National Charity League, which includes Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, Jenny Carmel volunteered at a number of philanthropies, but the one that gave her the deepest satisfaction was The Princess Project.

The Princess Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “promote self-confidence and individual beauty by providing free prom dresses and accessories to high school girls who cannot otherwise afford them.” Carmel and her friend Lindsey volunteered with the group for two years.


Los Altos mom of 27 adopted boys shares her journey in new book


Los Altos resident Marian Aiken recently published a memoir chronicling her life as the mother of 27 adopted and foster sons with special needs.

“Derek: A Story of Acceptance, Love and Advocacy for Children Living with Special Needs” (CreateSpace, 2014) recounts Aiken’s nearly four decades of caring for children with physical and developmental challenges, beginning with Derek, who came into her life as an infant in 1979.


Los Altos Neutra House architecture series launches this month with 6 new speakers

The 2015 Los Altos Neutra House Architecture Speaker Series will feature six speakers highlighting various aspects of modern architecture.

The series kicks off Feb. 19 with John Loomis, architect, educator and author of “Revolution of Forms: Cuba’s Forgotten Art Schools” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011). The book examines the convergence and collision of architecture, ideology and culture in 1960s Cuba through the design for the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte (National Art Schools). Booth has taught at The City College of New York, the California College of Art, Stanford University and the University of San Francisco. He is currently a professor at San Jose State University.


100 Women Charitable Foundation schedules dinner to disburse $172.5K in grant funding

The 100 Women Charitable Foundation has scheduled its annual dinner and voting event 5:30-9 p.m. March 6 at the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto, 4290 El Camino Real.

The foundation will donate $172,500 to local nonprofit organizations this year. Six grant finalists will give presentations to members, who will vote to award three impact grants of $47,500 each.


Community Briefs

Library hosts talk on artists Kahlo, Rivera

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art docent David Grady is scheduled to present an illustrated lecture on “Frida and Diego: Mexican Originals” 7 p.m. March 2 in the Program Room of the Los Altos main library, 13 S. San Antonio Road.

The discussion will highlight the artistic contributions of Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Kahlo explored the realities of her life and feelings through her deeply personal art. Rivera was a larger-than-life figure whose murals and paintings reflected his passion for his native country and the social, political and cultural issues of the day. The presentation will delve into their odyssey as a couple and emphasize their many connections to the Bay Area.


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