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The Scripps Research Institute Appoints Four Leading Scientists to New Scripps Florida Faculty

La Jolla, CA, April 13, 2004 - The Scripps Research Institute announced today the appointments of four noted scientists to the faculty of the new Scripps Florida biomedical research operation in Palm Beach County.

"We are fortunate to have such outstanding researchers forming the foundation of our staff at Scripps Florida," said Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner, M.D. "They are established or emerging leaders in their various fields who will contribute to the success of the new enterprise. Their work will enhance our understanding of human health to the benefit of all."

The four faculty members are:

Patrick R. Griffin, Ph.D., professor and head of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics in the Scripps Florida Division of Drug Discovery. Dr. Griffin was most recently chief scientific officer and vice president of research at ExSAR Corporation in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, an early-stage biotechnology company that uses a proprietary technology platform to rapidly develop biopharmaceuticals and small molecule drugs for established markets. Griffin's team established ExSAR's nuclear receptor drug discovery program that has resulted in a number of technology partnerships with leading pharmaceutical firms.

Prior to ExSAR, Dr. Griffin, 40, was senior director in the Basic Chemistry Department at Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, New Jersey, and senior director of molecular profiling proteomics. He directed more than 40 scientists focused on applying a wide range of technologies to the drug discovery process. He was also responsible for the development of technology to rapidly characterize very large sets of chemical compounds and large collections of natural products.

He earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia, where he was involved in the development of biological mass spectrometry. He was later a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, focusing on systems biology.

He will join Scripps Florida in May.

Downloadable photo of Patrick R. Griffin

John Hogenesch, Ph.D., associate professor and associate director of Genome Technology, Divisions of Biomedical Science and Technology Development, was raised in Gainesville, Florida. He received his doctoral degree from Northwestern University working on signal transduction pathways mediated by bHLH-PAS transcription factors.

Prompted by his interests in circadian rhythms, Dr. Hogenesch, 36, joined the laboratory of Dr. Steve Kay at The Scripps Research Institute and Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, both in La Jolla, California, for postdoctoral training. His research efforts focused on application of emerging technologies in the study of transcriptional output of the biological clock. He currently serves as head of genomics at the Genomics Institute and assistant professor of neuropharmacology at Scripps Research.

He will assume his new position in October.

Chris Liang, Ph.D., associate director of medicinal chemistry, Division of Drug Discovery, obtained his doctorate in chemistry from Princeton University in 1989. After a five-year tenure with Accelrys, a leading software provider for molecular modeling and drug design headquartered in San Diego, he joined SUGEN, a biotech company in South San Francisco, pioneering research and drug discovery on protein kinases. (SUGEN was acquired by Pharmacia, which in turn was acquired by Pfizer). During his seven years at SUGEN, he made significant contributions to a number of drug discovery projects and was honored as Associate Fellow of the Pharmacia Corporation in 2003.

Dr. Liang, 41, most recently served as the director of chemistry managing the New Lead Synthesis/Medicinal Chemistry, Combinatorial Chemistry, and Computational Chemistry groups. He has more than 30 scientific publications and over 20 patents in drug discovery.

He began his work at Scripps Florida this month.

Downloadable high resolution photo of Chris Liang

Teresa Reyes, Ph.D., assistant professor Division of Biomedical Science, received her doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin. Her thesis work focused on the behavioral and immunological effects of peripheral cytokine administration.

For her postdoctoral training, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Sawchenko, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. While there, she has used functional neuroanatomical techniques and molecular genetic tools to examine the central nervous system pathways that mediate changes in appetite and metabolism that accompany illness and infection.

Dr. Reyes, 34, most recently a senior research associate at the Salk Institute, was recently awarded a five-year Mentored Research Scientist Development Award grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), an intensive career development experience in one of the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences leading to research independence.

She will join Scripps Florida in October.

Downloadable high resolution photo of Teresa Reyes

About Scripps Florida

Scripps Florida, a 364,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility, will be built on 100 acres of undeveloped land west of I-95 off of PGA Boulevard and bordered by Seminole/Pratt Whitney Road.

The facility will focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development. Palm Beach County is providing an economic package that includes the land, $137 million toward construction of the permanent facility and related costs, and costs for temporary facilities for Scripps scientists. Planning, development, and construction of the new campus are scheduled to begin as soon as contracts are finalized. The campus is expected to open in late 2006 and will ultimately employ more than 500 people.

The start-up costs of Scripps Florida, a division of The Scripps Research Institute headquartered in La Jolla, California, are supported by a one-time $310 million appropriation of federal economic development funds made by the State of Florida at the request of Governor Jeb Bush. Scripps Florida is expected to attract other research facilities, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms, as well as residential, commercial, recreational, educational, and cultural development to the surrounding area.

Scripps Florida will first operate out of 8,000 square-foot lab facilities on the Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton campus. It will move in early 2005 to a 41,000 square-foot facility now being built by the university on its Jupiter campus.

About The Scripps Research Institute The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, is one of the world's largest, private, non-profit biomedical research organizations. It stands at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and synthetic vaccine development.


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