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The Scripps Research Institute’s Ardem Patapoutian Named HHMI Investigator

LA JOLLA, CA – May 9, 2013 ­– Ardem Patapoutian, professor in the Dorris Neuroscience Center at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator, based on demonstrated potential to contribute significantly to biomedical science. 

“I am immensely pleased for Ardem and what his selection says about him and TSRI,” said Michael A. Marletta, president and CEO of TSRI. “Ardem's work in mechanotransduction is transformative. Our expectations are even higher for him now.”

Patapoutian and 26 other top biomedical researchers from across the country were selected for HHMI’s flagship investigator program from among 1,155 applicants. The new HHMI investigators will begin five-year appointments in September, receiving the significant support necessary to drive their research in creative new directions

The current group of 330 HHMI investigators includes 15 Nobel laureates and more than 160 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Patapoutian and his team are investigating the molecular underpinnings of mechanotransduction, the process by which cells convert mechanical forces into chemical signals. Specifically, the lab is focused on identifying the molecules that sense force, determining how these sensors work, and elucidating their physiological roles in biological processes and diseases involving mechanotransduction, including sensing touch, pain and blood pressure.

Patapoutian was the only new HHMI investigator from the San Diego area this year. In addition to TSRI, other institutions represented in the new group include Harvard University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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 about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including two Nobel laureates—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. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.

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Scripps Research Institute Professor Ardem Patapoutian was selected from among 1,155 applicants to be one of 27 new HHMI investigators. (Photo courtesy of Huffaker/AP, © HHMI.)
– For a high-resolution image see: http://www.scripps.edu/news/press/
images/patapoutian_ardem/patapoutian_hhmi.jpg