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Research Overview - Florida Campus

Scripps Florida is an academic research facility with investigators in six of 15 departments at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI): Cancer Biology, Chemistry, Infectious Diseases, 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 TSRI 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 TSRI 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.