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Scripps Florida Kicks Off Third Season of Front Lines of Hope Discussion Series

JUPITER, FL, November 29, 2010 – A full house is expected when the third season of the highly acclaimed Front Lines of Hope discussion series at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter opens this coming Thursday, December 9. This invitation-only event will feature two of the institute’s nationally known scientists, Department of Molecular Therapeutics Chair Patrick R. Griffin, Ph.D., and Professor Donald Phinney, Ph.D.

The two men will be speaking about stem cell research – “Stem Cells: Hype vs. Reality.”  While some remarkable strides have been made in stem cell research over the past decade, the issue has raised controversy and concern along with hope for new therapies.

This lecture from two prominent Scripps Florida researchers will provide a broad overview of current stem cell biology, explore the emerging role of mesenchymal stem cells derived from adult bone marrow in clinical medicine, and discuss research being conducted on the anti-inflammatory properties of this type of stem cell. The risk of patient abuse in the thriving stem cell “medical tourism” industry will also be discussed. 

Now in its third year, the Front Lines of Hope is a series of lectures that serves to educate and enlighten all who attend about some of the most challenging issues of human health.

"This series showcases some of the premier scientists in the world and the groundbreaking work taking place at Scripps Florida," said Harry Orf, Ph.D., vice president of scientific operations at Scripps Florida. “The success of the program is due both to the support of the public and the quality of the scientific talent we have here in Jupiter."

For the 2010-2011 season, five thought-provoking and topical subjects will be presented. In addition to Griffin and Phinney's December 9 lecture, events will include:

• Thursday, January 20, 2011: "Taking the Pain out of Drug Discovery: The Search for Analgesics without Side Effects" by Scripps Florida Associate Professor Laura Bohn, Ph.D.

• Tuesday, February 15, 2011: "Junk Food, Addiction, and Obesity: The Road to Health is Paved with More Than Good Intentions," by Scripps Florida Associate Professor Paul Kenny, Ph.D., and William A. Kaye, M.D., F.A.C.P., co-director of Metabolic Research Institute

• Tuesday, March 15, 2011: "The Secrets of Memory Formation: 'You must remember this'" by Ronald Davis, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neuroscience, Scripps Florida

• Tuesday, April 12, 2011: "Lessons from Mad Cow Disease: Unlocking the Mysteries of Age-Related Brain Disorders" by Scripps Florida Professor Corinne Lasmezas, Ph.D.

Patrick R. Griffin

Dr. Griffin is the chairman of the Department of Molecular Therapeutics and director of the Translational Research Institute, which combines basic research with advanced technology platforms to develop potential lead compounds that can prevent, treat or cure disease.

His research blends chemical and cell biology with structural biology to explore the mechanism and structure-function of enzymes and receptors, particularly kinases, G-protein coupled receptors and nuclear receptors. During the past few years his work has focused on developing hydrogen/deuterium exchange technology for probing the mechanism of activation of ligands that modulate nuclear receptors.

Dr. Griffin received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Syracuse University in 1985 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Virginia in 1989. He did his postgraduate work at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Donald Phinney

Dr. Phinney, who joined Scripps Florida as a professor in 2009, is focused on the basic biology of mesenchymal stem cells using genetic and molecular approaches as well as evaluating the therapeutic potential of these cells in a variety of disorders, including animal models of lung injury (acute and chronic) and neurological disorders. 

He graduated from the University of Vermont in 1984 with a degree in Chemistry and Mathematics and received a biochemistry degree from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia and his Ph.D. in 1990.  He did postgraduate work at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and was an American Cancer Society Fellow from 1992 to 1995. He moved to Tulane in New Orleans in July 2000 to start a center for gene therapy, where he first became interested in the potential of meneschymal stem cells. 

For those interested in receiving an invitation to the event, or for further information, please call (561) 228-2084 or email your correspondence to Philanthropy-Florida@scripps.edu .

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, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, Scripps Research currently employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel. Headquartered in La Jolla, California, the institute also includes Scripps Florida, whose researchers focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development. Scripps Florida is located in Jupiter, Florida. For more information, see www.scripps.edu

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Mika Ono
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