UCLA student government advocates for Westwood infrastructure improvements

The UCLA Undergraduate Students Association Council and the North Westwood Neighborhood Council collaborated with the nonprofit organization Streets For All to launch the Westwood Connected campaign.

The movement pushes for protected bike lanes, new bus lanes, a heavy rail stop on UCLA campus and increased overall pedestrian safety in Westwood, the Daily Bruin reported.

To improve the safety of pedestrians, the Westwood Connected campaign hopes to replace an automobile traffic lane with a bike lane, create additional signed pedestrian crossings, implement speed bumps and restrict cars from making right turns at red lights.

“Right now, there’s not a balance. All the space is for cars,” Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Streets For All Michael Schneider told the Daily Bruin. “Westwood Village is almost a perfect place for these changes because of how compact it is and how many small businesses there are.”

According to Schneider, the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association Council played a significant role in creating the founding principles of the project.

“It’s pretty awesome that we have UCLA students, an organization that represents business, and the neighborhood council, to all come together and ask for the same thing,” Schneider said. “I don’t think this has happened together to this degree around a plan while there have been potentially supportive politicians in office. I’m excited.”

UCSD researchers find correlation between extrachromosomal DNA and cancer

UC San Diego postdoctoral researcher Jens Luebeck co-authored a paper on April 12 describing his study, which highlights a correlation between extrachromosomal circular DNA and the growth of cancer tumors, according to the UCSD Guardian.

“Genes that allow precancerous tissue to grow more quickly can become amplified,” Luebeck told the Guardian. “This can happen sometimes many years before a patient actually develops cancer. So what we looked at was whether the changes that happen to this DNA are actually including mechanisms that we call extrachromosomal DNA, or ecDNA.”

The study specifically looked at patients with Barrett’s esophagus, a “precancerous condition of the esophagus,” according to the Guardian.

Luebeck’s study found a clear relationship between ecDNA — DNA that has broken away from its normal chromosomal structure — and tumor development in the patients.

“What we found was that in patients who would later go on to develop cancer, extra chromosomal DNA was found more frequently than in Barrett’s patients who never went on to get cancer, even after 10 years or more,” Luebeck said.

UCSD computer science professor Vineet Bafna, who also contributed to the paper, noted how this study could change the way scientists and patients think about cancer treatments.

“I think people have to think of ecDNA as an important facet of their cancer,” Bafna told the Guardian. “If [the cancer] is ecDNA positive maybe you want some more aggressive treatments. It’s definitely changed how people think about cancer.”

A version of this article appeared on p. 2 of the April 27, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Alex Levin
Alex Levin (he/him) is the University News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Levin was the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. He can be reached at alexlevin@dailynexus.com.