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Scripps Florida Chemist Named Finalist for Blavatnik Awards

JUPITER, FL – June 3, 2016 – Matthew Disney, professor on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has been named a chemistry finalist for the 2016 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists.

The awards, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, recognize outstanding faculty-rank researchers from the nation's leading academic and research institutions.

“The 2016 National Finalists in Chemistry are performing revolutionary research that has the potential to improve lives around the globe,” noted the Blavatnik Family Foundation and New York Academy of Sciences in a statement.

Disney’s research focuses on RNA-based drug discovery. His lab’s goal is to create new tools for the development of therapies based on a patient’s individual genome sequence and the RNA products of those genes. With these tools, Disney and his team are currently targeting rare “orphan” diseases with no known cure and more common disorders that show poor prognoses, such as drug-resistant cancers.

“Every step of our science has a new challenge along the way,” said Disney. “Given that the diseases that we work are often times incurable, we are always motivated to continue to advance our compounds to therapeutic efficacy and then on to patients.”

Another TSRI scientist, Phil Baran, Darlene Shiley Professor of Chemistry on the Scripps California campus, was also nominated as a Blavatnik Awards finalist. Baran’s lab explores new avenues for the efficient and practical construction of organic molecules, both naturally occurring and man-made, by pursuing longstanding synthetic challenges and by designing methods of broad utility.

Disney and Baran will be honored at an awards ceremony on September 12 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

For more information on Disney and his research, see his faculty webpage and lab website.

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 Academy 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. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.

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Matthew Disney, professor on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has been named a chemistry finalist for the 2016 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists. (High-res image)