NEXT MEETING: March 3, 2017

The Biological Embedding of Social Experience

Darlene Francis’s research program explores how biological, psychological and social processes interact over a lifetime to influence health and vulnerability to disease. The historic belief that information only flows in one direction, from the genome, is simply incorrect. Her research demonstrates that genetically identical organisms can manifest dramatically different phenotypic profiles in response to different environmental and social conditions. The research is focused on exploring how social inequalities in health come to be. Darlene optimistically focuses on identifying opportunities for intervention. This level of trans-disciplinary research can only be conducted with multiple collaborations that span many disciplines (molecular epigenetics through social epidemiology). In sum, her research explores how experience and social factors are transduced into biological vulnerability, risk and resilience.



President Josh Surowitz cheerfully opened the meeting and asked Dan Tanita to lead the pledge. Herb Cole provided the invocation.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Kimberly Terry attended as Stacey Street’s guest.


  • Alan Baer reminded folks that tonight is TGIFF. It will take place at Salute and we are the host club.
  • Dave Brown reported that he successfully returned from Puerto Vallarta.
  • Henry Moe wanted to thank our members for sponsoring three students to the district conference.
  • Last but not least, Stacey Street put out the word that she needs everyone to recommend speakers for upcoming meetings. She suggested that she wouldn’t be doing this job forever, but this suggestions was roundly rejected by all present.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


UC Berkeley Solar Decathlon

On behalf of the Richmond Community Foundation, which partnered with the UC Berkeley Solar Decathlon team, Jim Becker, President and CEO, provided the introductions. Sam Durkin and Suraj Patel, both engineering students at UC, described the purpose of the project and how it was being implemented by the UC Berkeley team.

The Solar Decathlon is an international competition sponsored by the Department of Energy challenging collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The competition will culminate in October 2017 in Denver where the competing houses will be on display and a winner chosen based on measurable results.

The UC Berkeley team is comprised of 40 members representing a variety of disciplines, from engineering and architecture to fundraising. They have made their goal to design a home that will be affordable and suited to use in Richmond specifically.

Sam and Suraj presented slides of the project design, an 860 square foot house with sliding walls and Murphy beds for flexibility in use of the limited space. The home is also designed to be stackable for multi-family use, with large windows, and decks for expanded living space. The plans also call for use of Tesla batteries to store solar energy.

Further information is available online at

- David Cole, Rotating Editor