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Two TSRI Scientists Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

San Diego Researchers Ardem Patapoutian and Phil Baran Receive One of Science’s Highest Honors

LA JOLLA, CA – May 2, 2017 – Two scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in San Diego—Ardem Patapoutian and Phil Baran—have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences for their “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research,” the academy announced today. The two join several other TSRI scientists as members of this exclusive group of scientific scholars.

“Ardem and Phil have made extraordinary contributions to science,” said TSRI President Peter G. Schultz, Ph.D. “Their work, and this well-deserved recognition, place them among an elite group of scientists, and we are incredibly proud to have them as colleagues. I wish them both a hearty congratulations.”

Patapoutian, Ph.D., a TSRI professor and member of the Dorris Neuroscience Center at TSRI and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, studies how cells “talk” to each other and send signals through the body. His lab works to uncover the basic mysteries of human sensory biology, such as the proteins underlying our sense of touch, and contribute to the development of future treatments for disease.

“It is truly such an honor to be recognized by the NAS, especially as the need to advocate for strong science public policy is more urgent than ever,” said Patapoutian. “TSRI has truly enabled the cutting-edge techniques that have propelled our research forward.”

Baran, Ph. D., the Darlene Shiley Professor of Chemistry at TSRI, focuses on a field of chemistry called natural product synthesis. His lab has developed new methodologies for more efficient and economically viable routes to create potential new drugs.

“It’s a vote of confidence that the lab is pursuing the right problems and a testament to the amazing environment at TSRI that made this possible,” said Baran regarding the academy’s announcement. “Organic chemistry is a force for good in this world, and we are very blessed to be able to contribute to this vibrant and exciting discipline.”

Patapoutian and Baran are among the academy’s 84 new members and 21 foreign associates.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership and, along with other groups, provides science, technology and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

Other National Academy of Sciences members at TSRI are Floyd E. Bloom, Dale L. Boger, Francis V. Chisari, Benjamin Cravatt, Richard A. Lerner, Michael B.A. Oldstone, Julius Rebek, Jr., Paul Schimmel, Peter G. Schultz, K. Barry Sharpless, Peter K. Vogt, Charles Weissmann, Ian Wilson, Chi-Huey Wong, Peter Wright and Kurt Wüthrich.

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

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Ardem Patapoutian (left) is a TSRI professor and member of the Dorris Neuroscience Center at TSRI and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. (Photo by Madeline McCurry-Schmidt.) (High-res image)

Phil Baran (left) is Darlene Shiley Professor of Chemistry at TSRI. (Photo by Cindy Brauer.) (High-res image)