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Scripps Research Institute Scientist Knighted by Italian Republic

LA JOLLA, CA, June 21, 2011 – Scripps Research Institute Associate Professor Marisa Roberto has been awarded the Cavaliere (knight) degree of the Italian Republic’s highest honor, the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (Order of Merit), recognizing her scientific research in the neurobiology of addictive behavior.

Traditionally bestowed by the president of the Italian Republic, the Order of Merit acknowledges “merit acquired by the nation” in literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic, and humanitarian activities, as well as for service in civilian and military careers.

“Being recognized for my research is at the same time inspiring and humbling,” said Roberto, “especially being honored by Italy, my country of birth, with the Knighthood of the Republic. I am deeply grateful.”

Roberto was knighted last month in a special ceremony at City Hall in Volterra, Italy, before family, friends, and colleagues. The event coincided with the second International Conference on Alcoholism and Stress Research, a gathering she organized in Volterra with George Koob, chair of the Scripps Research Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders.

At Scripps Research, Roberto and her team focus on understanding basic mechanisms in the brain that trigger alcohol dependence and drug addiction. Uncovering how these mechanisms work can lead to developing new therapies to alleviate addictive disorders.

Roberto is also the recipient of the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which she received in 2009 at a ceremony with the President at the White House.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and vaccine development, as well as for its insights into autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious disease. Headquartered in La Jolla, California, the institute also includes a campus in Jupiter, Florida, where scientists focus on drug discovery and technology development in addition to basic biomedical science. Scripps Research currently employs about 3,000 scientists, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students on its two campuses. The institute's graduate program, which awards Ph.D. degrees in biology and chemistry, is ranked among the top ten such programs in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu .

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