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Scientific Trailblazers to Address Historic Graduating Class at TSRI

TSRI Graduate Program Marks 25th Commencement with Two Honorary Degree Recipients

LA JOLLA, CA & JUPITER, FL – May 15, 2017 – In recognition of their career-long contributions to science and public health, renowned chemist Christopher Walsh and public health advocate Gerald Chan will receive honorary doctoral degrees from The Scripps Research Institute’s Graduate Program on Friday, May 19. During the Institute’s 25th Commencement Ceremony, TSRI board members Walsh and Chan will join the graduates of the top-10 ranked program in celebrating academic achievement and individual contributions to scientific research.

“TSRI is privileged to honor two distinguished leaders in the fields of biomedical research and public health,” said TSRI President Peter G. Schultz. “The broad impact of Chris and Gerald’s achievements should serve as an inspiration to our graduating class as they embark on the next phase of their careers and apply their own learnings to advancing scientific discovery around the world.”

Chan is the co-founder of Morningside, a private equity and venture capital firm. His investments include support for infectious disease research, vaccines, antivirals, metabolic diseases, autoimmune diseases and rare orphan diseases.

Reflecting on the historic nature of this commencement, Chan will address the legacy of science in the United States. He will touch on the United States’ leadership in science following World War II, a tradition he hopes this era’s researchers can carry on with the support of government leaders. “If we care about science in America, we should care about the research institutions where some of the best science is done,” said Chan in a preview of his upcoming speech.

Walsh is a renowned chemist and academic leader who currently serves as a consulting professor to the Stanford University department of chemistry. He has been involved in a variety of venture-based biotechnology companies since 1981 and currently serves on several boards of directors, including the TSRI affiliate, the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr).

Reflecting on his own career in chemistry, Walsh will advise on the importance of intellectual curiosity. “You should use your talent to address and solve important problems, not just fill in the pages of defined projects,” said Walsh, previewing his remarks.

TSRI’s rigorous doctoral program, which takes an average of five years to complete, consists of a year of classwork and rotation through laboratories, customizable to each student’s interests and long-term goals, followed by work on individual research projects under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

U.S. News & World Report currently ranks TSRI’s graduate program as second in country in the specialty of biochemistry, sixth in the specialty of organic chemistry, seventh overall in chemistry and ninth overall in the biological sciences, based on a survey of department heads, deans, directors of graduate studies, and other academics in each discipline.

The 25th Commencement Ceremony will take place at TSRI’s Hazen Campus in La Jolla, CA, on Friday, May 19, 2017, at 10 AM.

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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