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News Release

$10 Million Gift Creates Neurological Research Center
at The Scripps Research Institute

La Jolla, CA. August 6, 1999 -- The Harold L. Dorris Neurological Research Center has been established at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) with a $10 million commitment from Helen L. Dorris of San Diego, founder of the Harold L. Dorris Neurosciences Foundation.

According to TSRI President, Dr. Richard A. Lerner, "This gift, the largest that TSRI has received for furthering research in the neurosciences, comes at a particularly opportune time as scientists here are poised to reap the enormous benefits from the nearly concluded mapping of the human genome. We at TSRI expect the Center to foster rapid advances in the fundamental understanding of the brain."

The Center will bring a dedicated effort to providing education and conducting research into neurological disorders, including schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, as well as advancing knowledge of the process of aging of the brain. The Center expects to attract nationally recognized brain researchers to join in an interdisciplinary focus on the brain, expanding ongoing research currently conducted in TSRI's Departments of Neurobiology, Neuropharmacology, Chemistry and Molecular Biology.

An advisory board of the Institute's leading scientists in Alzheimer's research, aging and diagnostic studies has been appointed to serve under the direction of Floyd Bloom, M.D., Chairman, Department of Neuropharmacology, and Editor-in-Chief of Science magazine, to oversee the Center's development. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, Dr. Bloom is one of the major architects of modern neuroscience. His work has found considerable applicability to many enigmatic disorders of the nervous system, such as the addictive states, the dementias and the major psychoses.

Faculty advisory board members include: William H. Beers, Ph.D., TSRI Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; Shelly Halpain, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology, whose laboratory investigates the molecular basis for neuronal growth, plasticity, and degeneration with regard to stroke, epilepsy, AIDS dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and the abnormal growth of dendrites and spines in mental retardation; Jeffery W. Kelly, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry and The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, whose research seeks an understanding of the chemistry and biology of human amyloid diseases, including Alzheimer's; and John M. Polich, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Neuropharmacology, who conducts research in cognitive electrophysiology, investigating and assessing the mental changes associated with aging and the efficiency of brain processes.

Currently, the advisory board is engaged in an international search for the director of the Dorris Neurological Center, who also will hold the Harold L. Dorris Neuroscience Chair, recently established to enrich and expand research and scholarship in neurosciences at TSRI. In addition, the Helen L. Dorris Research Award will sponsor a senior research fellowship to study the causes, prevention and cure of schizophrenia. The Center also will present public programs on emerging topics in the neurosciences, continuing education for health professionals, and other public information ventures.

Helen L. Dorris is a Professor Emeritus at San Diego State University. She currently serves as a mental health advocate with a special interest in neurological research. She lives in Pacific Beach.


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