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Philip Dawson Named Dean of The Scripps Research Institute’s Graduate Program

Dawson brings to his new role more than 25 years’ experience at TSRI as a student, alumnus, faculty member and associate dean.

LA JOLLA, CA – March 27, 2017 – The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) today announced the promotion of Philip Dawson, Ph.D., from Associate Dean to Dean of the TSRI Graduate Program.

Dawson, who earned his Ph.D. from TSRI in 1996, replaces Jamie Williamson, Ph.D., who has taken on a new role as Vice President of Academic Affairs.

“As one of TSRI’s earliest alumni, Phil possesses a unique perspective on the program, as well as a proven track record of leadership success as both a researcher and an administrator,” said Williamson. “In his role as Associate Dean, Phil has been instrumental in the management and direction of the program and he has a clear vision for continuing to build the program’s reach and reputation.”

As the graduate program prepares to celebrate its 25th graduating class this May, Dawson sees his number one responsibility as continuing the great tradition of academic and scientific excellence that has earned the program international prestige, including annual top-10 rankings in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Grad Schools.

“I am both humbled and excited by the opportunity to build on the momentum established under Jamie’s leadership and lead this incredible program into the future,” Dawson said. “As someone who has been involved in all facets of the TSRI graduate program, I know exactly how transformational this experience can be for students.”

Dawson’s own research revolves around the development and utilization of methods to incorporate unnatural chemical groups into proteins. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating magna cum laude. After earning his doctoral degree at TSRI, Dawson conducted postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology before returning to TSRI in 1997 as Assistant Professor in the department of Cell Biology. He was recently promoted to Professor of Chemistry and has continued to be active in the graduate program through teaching, as well as directing the graduate admissions committee under the role of Associate Dean.

Dawson has authored more than 160 publications, was an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and has earned such honors as the Max-Bergmann Gold Medal, the Vincent du Vigneaud Award and Leonidas Zervas Award. He explained that what makes TSRI’s graduate program unique is the opportunity, from the very beginning of their education, for students to work in a variety of disciplines, with a diversity of world-renowned researchers.

“What our program does best is teach students how to ask important questions and be experimentally fearless in solving them,” Dawson said. “Our graduate program is about more than just learning how to conduct experiments. We nurture independent thought and interdisciplinary work. As a result of this training, many of our alumni are performing groundbreaking research in diverse fields and have carved career paths through all areas of industry and academics.”

About The Scripps Research Institute’s Graduate Program

The Scripps Research Institute's Graduate Program is an interdisciplinary program that provides rigorous training in chemistry, chemical biology, biology, neurosciences, immunology, cell biology, chemical physiology, and biophysics. When students matriculate into the Graduate Program, they do not join a department. Students have access to the entire curriculum and the entire faculty affiliated with the school regardless of the faculty member’s department. This approach allows students to be broadly trained and emphasizes the creation of basic knowledge in the biosciences.

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Philip Dawson, Ph.D., Dean of the TSRI Graduate Program (High-res image)


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