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JulyFeb. 2 - July 2009 29, 2012 23 9,- Feb.

Black Business Association holds 38th awards dinner „ At JW Marriott L.A. Live BY JULIANA NORWOOD OW STAFF WRITER

In recognition of African American History Month, the Black Business Association will hold its 38th annual awards dinner tonight at JW Marriott L.A. Live, located at 900 W. Olympic Blvd., in downtown Los Angeles. The reception will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the dinner program at 7 p.m. The BBA announced AEG as this year's dinner chair, with invited keynote speaker Secretary of Commerce John Bryson. Following the dinner, guests will be treated to a dessert reception. The purpose of the awards dinner is to honor corporations, government agencies and individuals that have been most supportive of the growth and development of the Black Business Association and the African American business community as a whole. This year, the BBA embraces the theme for African American History Month, "Black Women in American Culture and History," with a special recognition award to Executive Director Charmaine Jefferson and the California African American Museum for their dedication to keeping the greater Los Angeles community and beyond educated and uplifted on the culture and history of African

Americans everywhere. Other honorees are: AEG—Majority Sustainability Corporation Award Sempra Energy— Majority Corporation Award Earl G. Graves Curtis L. Fralin Sr., founder of Black Enterprise and chairman of Earl G. Graves, LTD.—Lifetime Achievement Award The Honorable Herb Wesson, president of the Los Angeles City Council—President's Award Michael R. Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)—Chairman's Award Curtis L. Fralin, founding/co-managing member of Infinity Redevelopment, LLC, and owner of the historical Los Angeles landmark, Maverick's Flat— Entrepreneur of the Year Award Kedren Mental Health Center—Community Service Award The black-tie optional event is also supported in part by dinner co-chairs: Brandon Supply Corp., Dickerson Employee Benefits and Patten Energy, as well as sponsors West Coast Expo, Comerica Bank, Sempra Energy, Southern California Edison, Verizon, Wells Fargo, AT&T, US Bank, American Honda Motor Co., Donald T. Sterling Corp., Walmart, Northrop Grumman and EastWest Bank. Tickets are available for purchase online at

Cover Story | Feature Story


USC team tracks down cause of birth defects „ Findings may help doctors save lives through rapid diagnosis BY BETH DUNHAM OSTROW SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY

A USC research team has pinpointed the source of a genetic disorder that causes life-threatening birth defects, which may allow doctors to quickly diagnose and better treat the disease. Babies born with the disorder, known as LoeysDietz syndrome or Marfan syndrome type II, have cleft palates and other facial characteristics similar to babies born with other diseases—but also happen to suffer potentially fatal heart defects, making it critical for them to receive an accurate diagnosis right away. Researchers from USC found an abnormally high amount of a protein known as Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-ß) outside of cells—which may be revealed by a blood or tissue test—in patients with characteristic facial defects is a key indicator of Loeys-Dietz. “If we can screen patients for this, it can identify Loeys-Dietz syndrome and inform clinical practice,”

Across Black America | OpEd

said Yang Chai, director for the USC Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology and corresponding author of the study. “And perhaps, one day we can manipulate the amount [of TGF-ß] and possibly rescue the cleft palate before a baby is born. The prospects of this are very promising.” Led by senior postdoctoral fellow Junichi Iwata of the Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC, researchers made their discovery by studying the fetal development of mice. They found that mutations that affect the way TGF-ß communicates outside of a cell may cause Loeys-Dietz syndrome. TGF-ß controls many of the functions within a cell, and is known to be heavily involved in the palate’s formation—or failure to form. Typically, it uses a receptor protein known as TGFBR2 to communicate outside of the cell. However, if a mutation causes a roadblock on that communication highway, TGF-ß may rely on surface streets to get its signal out. In clinical studies, the activation of this separate signaling pathway resulted in palate and facial defects akin to Loeys-Dietz syndrome. A tell-tale sign of the alternate pathway’s activity is an abnormally high amount of TGF-ß outside of the cell. Also, additional genetic defects in the alternate pathway led to a disruption in its signaling, which lowered the amount of TGF-ß outside of the cell and rescued the palate and facial deformities, essentially correcting the defects before birth with no other intervention. Their work was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Funding for this research came from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institutes of Health.

Watch for trains on Metro Expo Line tracks. Test trains are now running in preparation for the upcoming opening of the Metro Expo Line, the newest extension of the Metro Rail system. Trains will be moving in both directions on the tracks.

Please remember to: > Obey all tra;c signals and warning devices. > Be alert at all times. Watch for a “TRAIN” signal. > Always push the button and wait for a “WALK” signal before entering the crosswalk. Never jaywalk across the tracks. > Never sit or stand on tracks. > Do not go around lowered gates. > Never make a left turn on a red arrow. This tra;c rule will be enforced by cameras at intersections. > Right turns are allowed while an Expo Line train is passing through, but may be restricted at certain intersections.

For more safety tips, visit

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