Pacific Coast Business Times Proudly serving Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties 2017-10-16T22:13:27Z https://www.pacbiztimes.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Staff Report <![CDATA[Amgen studying genes to target pain conditions]]> https://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=36819 2017-10-16T22:13:27Z 2017-10-16T22:13:27Z Read More →]]> For the next year, Amgen and Boston Children’s Hospital will use genetic analysis to study pain sensitivity.

The biotech giant based in Thousand Oaks will work with patients who have abnormal pain conditions, and the hospital will validate genetic markers as potential targets for new therapies, the two announced in a press release on Oct. 16.

“Traditional approaches to analgesic drug discovery have been pretty disappointing during the past 20 years,” said Charles Berde, chief of the division of pain medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. “The most innovative biotech companies have realized that they need to pursue new directions for drug discovery. Patients with unusual patterns of increased or decreased pain responsiveness can offer important clues in this pursuit.”

Patients included in the study suffer from diminished pain sensitivity, intense pain the extremities, paroxysmal extreme pain disorder and hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy.

The agreement is part of a larger effort to identify new genetic target areas and could potentially lead to new, non-addictive treatments, said John Dunlop, vice president of neuroscience research at Amgen.

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Henry Dubroff <![CDATA[Dubroff: Mayoral vote tests Santa Barbara’s capacity for change]]> https://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=36796 2017-10-13T18:10:44Z 2017-10-13T18:10:44Z

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Guest commentary <![CDATA[Opinion: Make good workplace behavior the norm]]> https://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=36794 2017-10-13T18:06:06Z 2017-10-13T18:06:06Z Read More →]]> By Loredana Carson

Sometimes it takes a law to get people to change their behavior, and sometimes even that is not enough.

Consider AB 2053. Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014, it enacted legal ramifications for failing to comply with requirements that companies with 50 or more employees offer education and training designed to prevent abusive behavior in the workplace.

Think about this for a minute. Workplace behavior is so bad that legislators spent time writing a law requiring businesses to educate their employees on how to behave so as to avoid legal problems. In truth, the laws in the workplace are the same as the laws in the schoolyard, albeit with older individuals.

A prior law, AB 1825, had already spelled out in detail that employers must provide a minimum of two hours of training and education designed to prevent sexual harassment but that didn’t go far enough.  Bullying behavior at work has become a big enough problem that it required its own law to get businesses to begin the process of educating their workforce to recognize, report and discourage bad behavior.

Most people I discuss this topic with are not bullies, but everyone can tell you about a time they witnessed bad behavior in the workplace. Many people, some say one in four, have experienced bullying personally. The goal of these two pieces of legislation is to eliminate or at least reduce behavior that demeans, diminishes, defames or belittles anyone in the workplace.

Technically, small businesses are not required to comply with the legislation in order to prevent overburdening them. But common sense tells you that they should not ignore the concepts articulated in these laws for multiple reasons.

One, they may cross the threshold sooner rather than later if the business is successful, so it is better to be safe than sorry. Two, it is the right thing to do. Even if they do not present two hours of training, small businesses can adopt good policies that explicitly prohibit any act that could be construed as bullying. They could also implement a policy that explicitly states that all people will be treated with respect and dignity and in a civil manner.

In both cases, large and small companies face similar realities. Just putting something into law or writing a policy does not change people’s behavior.

So, what can everyone do to combat this problem?

By taking individual responsibility for contributing to workplace dignity and respect, each person in any size workplace can become part of the solution. Probably the most important steps a person can take are to become aware of what types of behavior contribute to the problem and speak up if bullying behavior comes into your own view.

It is difficult to get bullies to change unless the behavior is called out and shunned. Often, bullies get attention and power from their behavior and have no incentive to stop.

This is often the case with entrenched behavior that is viewed as acceptable because everyone does it, such as making demeaning remarks about women, a specific ethnic group or anyone with an LGBT identification.

If this behavior is tolerated by the silent, it becomes the standard. If the silent become vocal and object, it can lead to change.

Bullies have complex psychological issues. It is not the job of co-workers to psychoanalyze bullies or act as their apologists. But by being aware and speaking up, whether it is directly to the bully or indirectly to the human resources team, employees can take small proactive steps to making this behavior go the way of the dinosaur.

Then our legislators can spend time making laws about other problems facing our nation.

• Loredana Carson is a lecturer in the California Lutheran University School of Management.

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Staff Report <![CDATA[Saks Off 5th will not renew Santa Barbara building lease]]> https://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=36790 2017-10-13T17:58:50Z 2017-10-13T17:58:50Z

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Marissa Nall http://www.pacbiztimes.com <![CDATA[CLU raising money for new science building]]> https://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=36788 2017-10-13T19:04:32Z 2017-10-13T17:51:40Z Read More →]]>

An artist’s rendering of the new science center to be built adjacent to the Ahmanson Science Building at California Lutheran University. (Courtesy photo)

 

With $20.8 million in its pocket, California Lutheran University opened up a capital campaign to the public to fund new lab space for biology, chemistry and exercise science students.

The campaign is more than two-thirds of the way to its $30 million goal, and construction is expected to begin in early 2018, said CLU President Chris Kimball.

Eight of the 20 new labs in the center for the sciences will be designated for student and faculty research in areas like biomechanics, organic synthesis, marine biology and neuroscience.

Connected by a bridge walkway to the current Ahmanson Science Building, the 47,000-square-foot design also includes labs for teaching, collaborative spaces and faculty offices.

“That focus will be heavily on lab space,” Kimball said, adding that unlike other regional universities, the college isn’t geared toward graduate degrees and doctorates in the sciences.

“We’re training undergraduates, but undergrad training has changed a lot, especially for smaller campuses like us. That requires more lab teaching space.”

Access to labs for research and experiments positions students to apply for advanced degrees in the sciences, move directly into tech and biotech fields, or attain management roles that require a high degree of scientific literacy, he said.

Once the new building is complete, the existing building will also get some upgrades.
Keeping the spaces close together “enables us to do more interdisciplinary work, kind of blur the lines between them and be less siloed,” said Michele LeBlanc, a professor of biomechanics at the university. “Proximity helps that.”

Students are also recognizing and responding to growth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields in the region.

“It’s a newer way of doing science that we’re responding to, as well as a tremendous demand from students,” Kimball said. “The last couple of years, more students come in as freshmen wanting to major in science than any other areas, and that didn’t use to be the case.”

A feasibility study in 2013 identified around $7 million in donor interest for the project at the same time, said Kristine Calara, associate vice president for advancement.

Originally on a 5-7 year timeline, the campaign has been shortened since the university achieved Hispanic Serving Institution status in early 2016, Calara said. A $4.63 million HSI grant will help fund the renovations, after helping the campus expand its staff and pay student research fellowships and internships, among other programs.

With a few proposals to key prospective donors still pending, the campus opened the campaign up to public donors, including naming opportunities and inclusion on a donor wall for gifts of $500 or more.

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Marissa Nall http://www.pacbiztimes.com <![CDATA[Amgen stock stable despite end of drug ban]]> https://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=36786 2017-10-13T17:47:03Z 2017-10-13T17:46:40Z

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Marissa Nall http://www.pacbiztimes.com <![CDATA[Puente Power Project hits snag at CEC]]> https://www.pacbiztimes.com/?p=36781 2017-10-13T17:40:55Z 2017-10-13T17:40:55Z

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