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Thousands Join Scripps Florida Researchers at Second Annual "CELLebration" in The Gardens Mall

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JUPITER, FL, February 16, 2011—Nearly 100 researchers from Scripps Florida recently hosted a day of fun and interactive science activities for more than 4,000 people and honored Palm Beach County’s future scientists and engineers, as part of the second annual "CELLebrate Science with Scripps Florida" event, held at The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens.

The two-part public event featured a special award ceremony on Thursday, February 3 and an interactive, family-friendly science exposition on Saturday, February 5, providing local residents, families, and school children an opportunity to learn about the latest biomedical research taking place at Scripps Florida and to meet the scientists behind the discoveries.

The February 3 award ceremony honored middle school first-place winners and high school first- and second-place winners of Palm Beach County School District's 2010 Science and Engineering Fair, all of whom will be competing in the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida in March. Sidney Forbes, founding partner of The Gardens Mall, and Harry Orf, Ph.D., vice president of scientific operations for Scripps Florida, a division of The Scripps Research Institute, recognized each student’s achievement and presented each student with a special medal.

"It's always inspiring and extremely encouraging to see this level of talent and passion for scientific discovery among young people," said Deborah Leach-Scampavia, director of education outreach for Scripps Florida. "We were especially thrilled that four of the student winners—Max Morgenstern, Tucker Elliott, Lina Leon, and Emily Pawa—were recent summer interns here in the labs at Scripps Florida. Even more, we were very proud that Robb Bartenslager, one of our high school science teacher interns last summer, had 13 student winners from his classes."

Inspired by the campus's grand opening extravaganza in early 2009, The Gardens Mall hosted the first "CELLebration" in February 2010 to mark the one-year anniversary of Scripps Florida's permanent facility, and the response—several thousand visitors—was overwhelming. The Forbes Group, which owns and operates the 1.4 million square foot high-end shopping center, requested an encore for 2011.

This year, five interactive science activity booths were set up throughout the mall's lower level, along with new modular information cubes and assorted other displays.

At the "Express Yourself" booth, gene expression was emphasized with a demonstration of gene chip technology and a taste activity illustrating inherited traits that vary throughout populations. Visitors could also peer into an array of light microscopes and glimpse wildtype and mutant Drosophila (fruit flies), expressing mutations affecting eye color, wing shape, and bristle size.

At the "ScrippsBOT" activity station, several robotics activities were available, including a new motion-capture system that enabled visitors to control a virtual robot just by moving their body. Also on display was an exhibit on microfluidics, an exciting new technology with promise to revolutionize many aspects of scientific research.

A few steps away from the robotics activities, visitors discovered the "Go F.I.S.H." booth, which explained how scientists highlight parts of chromosomes by chemically inserting molecules that glow. Visitors could see bright fluorescent red, green, and orange zebra fish, then explore beautiful 3-D models of protein molecules using a giant touchscreen.

Back by popular request from last year's event were two chemistry activity booths, "Synthesize" and "Energize." At the "Synthesize" booth, several of the institute's synthetic organic chemists delighted visitors with the ever-popular "stink, smoke, and explode" chemistry demonstrations. At the “Energize” booth, children could try their hand at working inside an actual gas-filled glove box and watch even more exciting chemistry demonstrations hosted by the institute’s energy chemists.

The School District of Palm Beach County joined Scripps Florida at this year's event with a booth showcasing the district's biotechnology and medical magnet schools. Posters of winning student projects from the 2010 Science and Engineering Fair were also on display.

"As the state of Florida becomes a hub for the biotech industry, it's vital that our students and their families understand the impact of biotechnology on maintaining and improving quality of life," said District K-12 Science Manager Wendy Spielman. "The Scripps Florida CELLebration made the science of biotechnology accessible to our students and the community in a fun, interactive way. I believe it also opened students' eyes to a variety of career paths and fields of study they may have never considered before. It was an outstanding event."

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs more than 2,500 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including two Nobel laureates and 20 members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering or Medicine—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. In October 2016, TSRI announced a strategic affiliation with the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), representing a renewed commitment to the discovery and development of new medicines to address unmet medical needs. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.

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