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Renowned Immunologist Richard Ulevitch Retires from Scripps Research Institute

LA JOLLA, CA, January 3, 2008—The Scripps Research Institute today announced the retirement of Professor Richard Ulevitch, chairman of the Immunology Department and an internationally renowned researcher in the field of innate immunity.

Dr. Ulevitch, who joined the Institute in 1972, will continue to maintain a laboratory at Scripps Research as Professor of Immunology and Chairman Emeritus while joining 5AM Ventures of Menlo Park, California, a venture capital company that makes seed and early-stage investments in next-generation life science companies.

"It's with both regret and pleasure that I announce our friend and colleague's retirement as chairman of the Department of Immunology," said Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner, M.D.  "The regret comes from the realization that Richard will no longer be providing his wise guidance to the department he has helped to build into one of the most productive within the Institute, duly recognized for its significant research in the field of immunology worldwide. The pleasure comes from knowing that he will continue to contribute further important research to our understanding of the innate immune system, both at the Institute and in his new role in the private sector."

"During the past three decades at the Institute, it has been a privilege to work with each and every one of the faculty as a colleague and as Chairman of the Department of Immunology," Ulevitch said.  "In total, my years at Scripps Research represent one of the greatest experiences of my professional life. I will surely miss the opportunities and relationships it has provided."

Ulevitch joined Scripps Research in 1972 after receiving his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. He has served as chair of the Department of Immunology since 1994.  Over the past 14 years, the department has flourished, with the productivity of its faculty ranked second in immunology in the nation, according to a recent evaluation published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

His research has been dedicated to identifying the basic mechanisms of the innate immune response to infection. This work has led to a number of seminal discoveries, including the definition of the function of receptors in the innate immune system recognizing bacterial products and the discovery of a signal transduction cascade essential for an appropriate innate immune response and for regulating the production of key mediators of inflammation. Some of these findings are currently being translated into drug development for use in diseases where either acute or chronic inflammation play essential roles.

Ulevitch is the author of more than 200 scientific papers published in the leading journals in his field and his work has been among the most highly cited in the field of immunology. In addition to his scientific achievements, Ulevitch has been affiliated with multiple scientific advisory panels in the public and private sector.

Lerner said an international search will be conducted to find a new chair of the Immunology Department.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, genetics, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, cancer biology, 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 Research is headquartered in La Jolla, California. It also includes Scripps Florida, whose researchers focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development. Currently operating from temporary facilities in Jupiter, Scripps Florida will move to its permanent campus in 2009.

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