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TSRI Physician-Scientist Receives Burroughs Wellcome Fund's Clinical Scientist Award

La Jolla, CA. April 13, 1998 -- Mark Yeager, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Departments of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Vascular Biology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), and a cardiologist and Director of Cardiovascular Research at Scripps Clinic, is the recipient of a Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF). He is one of ten U.S. and Canadian researchers who collectively have been awarded $7.5 million to "bridge the gap between the laboratory bench and patient care." Given for the first time this year, the awards are intended to foster the development and productivity of outstanding physician-scientists who will strengthen translational research -- the two-way transfer between basic research and the treatment of patients.

"Although recent years have seen an explosion of fundamental insights into the mechanisms of disease, transferring this knowledge into practical advances in health care has moved more slowly," says BWF President Enriqueta C. Bond, Ph.D. "The National Institutes of Health and other public and private organizations support a significant amount of basic biomedical research, while industry supports the commercial development of medicines and medical products -- yet the vital bridge between these two areas remains underserved."

BWF's new awards will enable recipients to explore important scientific questions, apply the resulting knowledge at the bedside, and bring insights from the clinical setting back to the laboratory for further exploration. These efforts, it is hoped, will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of disease as well as to new methods of diagnosing, treating and preventing disease.

Yeager has been awarded $750,000 over five years to study the structure and function of cardiac gap junction membrane channels, complexes that are involved in both normal coordinated depolarization of heart muscle and cardiac arrhythmias that cause sudden death. His laboratory is working on the determination of a three-dimensional map of the gap junction channel, information which is essential for understanding the molecular basis of intercellular current flow in the heart and the origins of arrhythmias.

Yeager received a B.S. degree in chemistry from Carnegie-Mellon University, the M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University, and an M.D. in 1979 from the Yale University School of Medicine. He completed a residency and chief residency in medicine at Stanford University Medical Center. He subsequently specialized in cardiology at Stanford and also pursued an advanced postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology.

In 1988, he joined the staffs of both The Scripps Research Institute and the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at Scripps Clinic. He is a Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine, Subspecialty of Cardiovascular Diseases; Diplomate, National Board of Medical Examiners; Cardiac Transplant Physician, United Network for Organ Sharing; Member, New York Academy of Sciences; Member, American Heart Association Council on Basic Science; Member, Biophysical Society; Member, American Society of Cell Biology and Member, Society of Critical Care Medicine.

The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Yeager has received the Merck Index Award for academic excellence in chemistry; NIH National Research Service Award; Dorothy Penrose Stout Award, American Heart Association; NIH Clinical Investigator Award; Established Investigator Award, American Heart Association and Bristol Myers-Squibb; and Health Hero Award, Combined Health Agencies of San Diego.

Yeager is the author of numerous scientific publications and an invited guest lecturer at scientific symposia throughout the world.

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