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Scripps Research Institute Establishes Biochemistry Department to Emphasize Integrative Approaches in Biomedical Research

New Department Will Bridge California and Florida Campuses and Faculty

LA JOLLA, CA, November 15, 2005—The Scripps Research Institute announced today forming the Department of Biochemistry to span its California and Florida campuses.

The focus of the new department reflects the need to understand physiological processes from the molecular level to the whole organism. By taking integrative approaches to substantial problems in modern biology, the department's research will impact the understanding of a wide variety of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and autism.

The department's faculty members are multidisciplinary biologists with broad interests that seek to answer contemporary questions in neurobiology, metabolic control, immunology, and cancer biology.

"I've wanted to create a biochemistry department at Scripps Research for some time," said President Richard A. Lerner, M.D. "The new approaches that combine the latest tools from chemical and biological disciplines provide the basis for our new department".

Dr. Steve A. Kay, Professor of Cell Biology and Director of the Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, has been appointed as the founding chairman of the new department.  Faculty on the La Jolla and Florida campuses will staff the department.

Kay noted that his department's faculty takes a broader view of biochemistry than the traditional definition.

"Our faculty members are interested in understanding the workings of the human body from the most minute processes to system-level organization," said Kay. "They're comfortable wielding tools as diverse as protein dynamics in solution to large scale genetic and chemical screens." 

Kay said the new department would span several areas of contemporary biomedical research.

"Integrative approaches will better position us to develop novel therapeutic strategies for diseases as diverse as diabetes and autism," said Kay.

In addition to Kay, the new department will initially comprise faculty members from Florida. Kay said he expects to add five or six new appointments in California over the next several years.

The Scripps Research Institute and its Florida division, Scripps Florida in Palm Beach County, consist of eight other departments (Cell Biology, Chemistry, Infectology, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Neurobiology, and Neuropharmacology), as well as associated research institutes and centers.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute, headquartered in La Jolla, California, in 15 buildings on 22 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is one of the world's largest independent, 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, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development. Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel.

Scripps Florida, a 364,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility, is under construction in Palm Beach County.  The facility will focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development. Palm Beach County and the State of Florida have provided start-up economic packages for development, building, staffing, and equipping the campus. Scripps Florida now operates with approximately 150 scientists, technicians, and administrative staff at 40,000 square-foot lab facilities on the Florida Atlantic University campus in Jupiter. 


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