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Frequently Asked Questions

What are Scripps Florida's major areas of scientific interest?

Scripps Florida is an academic research facility with investigators in six of the institute's 15 departments: Cancer Biology, Chemistry, Immunology and Microbial Science, Metabolism and Aging, Molecular Therapeutics, and Neuroscience, as well as the unique Translational Research Institute, which includes the Advanced Technologies and Drug Discovery divisions. While the focus of basic scientific research is to understand the mechanisms that lead to disease and its potential treatment, the Translational Research Institute seeks to identify new biochemical targets for drug development, and to optimize and further develop these drug candidate lead compounds.

Biomedical Research.  Like The Scripps Research Institute as a whole, Scripps Florida's scientific departments are focused on finding answers to some of the most critical biomedical questions and, ultimately, to understanding in detail the fundamental processes of life. The overarching goal of this research focus is the development of therapeutic opportunities in several important disease areas. Scripps Florida's research targets include, among others, neurobiology (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, autism, schizophrenia, anxiety/depression and addiction), cancer biology, immune system studies (asthma, rheumatoid arthritis), cardiovascular and metabolic research (heart disease, diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome), and infectious diseases (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS).

Advanced Technologies.  Scripps Florida has made a major commitment to the development, acquisition, and expanded use of advanced technologies for the post-genome era of modern biomedical research. The Translational Research Institute combines basic research with advanced technology platforms or "cores" to develop potential lead compounds that can prevent, treat, or cure disease. Those platforms include centers for ultra-high throughput screening, cell based screening, genomics, proteomics, flow cytometry, x-ray diffraction, and nuclear magnetic resonance. These core technology groups work closely with the various academic departments as well as the drug discovery group within the Translational Research Institute to bring advanced technologies to bear on complex biological problems. For example:

  • Researchers in the Cell-Based Screening Core use high-throughput technologies to develop a systematic description of gene function encoded by the human genome, and a more comprehensive understanding of the genetic basis for human disease. They provide Scripps Research scientists, as well as select outside collaborators, access to genome-wide collections of cloned or complementary DNA and silencing RNA that can be used to investigate cellular models of signal pathways and biochemical phenotypes.
  • The Genomics Core generates data and manages its collection and initial processing related to microarray analysis and new generation deep sequencing. Microarrays, also known as gene chips, are basically glass or silicon wafers with short fragments of RNA and/or DNA deposited on their surface. By placing cell or tissue samples on these wafers, scientists can study which genes are being expressed, the levels of expression and how that expression changes over time.
  • The Proteomics Core focuses on the application of liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify, quantify, and characterize proteins and post-translational protein modifications. Investigators in this division are involved in scientific collaborations with numerous Scripps Florida scientists as well as several outside investigators at other State and nationally recognized research institutions. 

Drug Discovery.  The objective of the drug discovery group is to translate basic research into potential therapeutics by integrating the work of the biomedical faculty, who provide therapeutic area expertise and in-depth knowledge of target biology, with the advanced technology group that helps enable target validation, assay development and biological models.

Why did Scripps Research establish a campus in Florida?

The Scripps Research Institute has an international reputation for pioneering research programs to help meet current and emerging biomedical needs. Scripps Research views its Florida campus as an opportunity to expand the scope of its science, to recruit new world-class scientists, and to further establish itself as an international organization for scientific and philanthropic purposes.

Developing a vibrant biotechnology industry is an important part of Florida's continuing efforts to create a diverse, knowledge-based economy, and Scripps Florida has been critical in helping to attract other research, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical companies to the area. Two major research institutions have already opened in south and central Florida, and the world-renowned Max Planck Institute is building its first U.S. subsidiary on a site adjacent to the Scripps Florida facilities in Jupiter.

How is Scripps Florida funded?

Start-up costs of Scripps Florida were supported by a one-time $310 million appropriation of federal economic development funds by the Florida State Legislature in 2003, which were paid out (with interest) over a 10-year time period. Palm Beach County provided an economic package that included approximately $187 million for construction of the first phase of the permanent facility on the John D. McArthur campus of FAU in Jupiter, Florida. The facility opened in 2009 and comprises about 350,000 square feet of laboratory and administrative space. An additional 70 acres of land in Palm Beach Gardens was purchased by the county for $16 million and will be available for future expansion.

How will Scripps Florida be funded in the future?

Scripps Florida is becoming financially self-sufficient through:

  • Federal grant support for biomedical research programs, such as funds from the National Institutes of Health.
  • Technology support funding from several programs including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, and the U.S. Department of Defense.
  • An aggressive technology transfer process to enable licensing of institute discoveries; several potential compounds have already been licensed.
  • A strategic fundraising program directed at individual philanthropists and private foundations in the region and nationwide.
  • Leveraging Florida's substantial research investment by providing broad access to Scripps Florida's unique technology to meet the growing needs of the biomedical research community throughout the state.

How is Scripps Florida governed?

As a division of The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Florida is governed by the institute's president and its Board of Trustees. A Board of Directors governs the Scripps Florida Funding Corporation, a nonprofit corporation created by the Legislature and Governor to receive, hold, invest, administer, and disburse funds appropriated by the legislature for the establishment and operation of Scripps Florida.

Does Scripps Florida have a graduate education component?

The Scripps Research Institute’s Graduate Program, first established in 1989, offers doctoral degrees in the chemical and biological sciences and is conducted on both the La Jolla, California and Jupiter, Florida campuses. Ranked among the top ten of its kind by U.S. News & World Report, TSRI’s Graduate Program is an interdisciplinary program that provides rigorous training in chemistry, chemical biology, biology, neurosciences, immunology, cell biology, chemical physiology, and biophysics. Total enrollment is approximately 300 doctoral students from around the world, with more than 60 currently studying in Jupiter.

For more information, visit our Graduate Program page.

Does Scripps Florida offer educational opportunities for secondary students?

Scripps Florida has a well-established summer internship program for high school students from the Palm Beach County area. Made possible by a generous grant by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, the summer program provides opportunities for high school students to work alongside faculty members and attend weekly scientific presentations by Scripps Florida scientists.

Further information is available on the Scripps Florida K-12 Programs page.

What opportunities are there for collaboration between Scripps Florida and Florida universities?

Scripps Florida offers substantial opportunities for research and technological collaborations with other research institutions within Florida, the United States. and internationally. Whenever possible, Scripps Florida seeks to develop effective scientific collaborations with research groups from within the state.

For anyone interested in collaboration, a formal collaboration request process has been established. Written proposals are examined by a team of Scripps Florida scientists with the overall goal of generating external funding to support the collaborative activities at both participating institutions. For more information, visit our Access to Technologies home page.

How do I find out about employment opportunities at Scripps Florida?

Job openings are posted on the Scripps Research Careers page.  Look for those designated for our Florida campus.