Faculty Promotions Announced

Faculty promotions were announced at a recent meeting of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) Board of Directors.

"We are very enthusiastic about these promotions," says Jeffery Kelly, vice president for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies. "I am especially proud because this group of outstanding scientists includes several who were 'home grown.' Ben Cravatt is an alumnus of TSRI's graduate program. Erik Sorensen completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego in the laboratory of K.C. Nicolaou, chair of TSRI's Department of Chemistry. Henrik Ditzel completed postdoctoral studies in TSRI Professor Dennis Burton's lab. And Kenneth Fish began as a lab technician here and completed postdoctoral studies with Department of Cell Biology Chair Sandra Schmid."

The promotions include:

John Yates, III, who was promoted to professor in the Department of Cell Biology. Yates (B.A., M.S., University of Maine, Orono; Ph.D., University of Virginia, Charlottesville) came to TSRI in 2000. The Yates group relies upon the detailed information yielded by tandem mass spectrometry, a powerful technique for characterizing a proteome, to identify proteins from complex mixtures. Lab members draw upon biology, chemistry, and computer science to increase the scope, sensitivity, and throughput of technologies for practical proteomics.

Benjamin Cravatt, III, who was promoted to associate professor with tenure in the Department of Cell Biology. Cravatt (B.A., B.S., Stanford University; Ph.D., TSRI) joined TSRI as a faculty member in 1996. His research group is interested in understanding the role that mammalian enzymes play in regulating physiological and pathological processes, especially as they pertain to the nervous system. Lab members have focused much effort to date on elucidating the molecular, cellular, and physiological properties of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), a brain integral membrane enzyme responsible for catabolizing several neural signaling lipids, including the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide and the sleep-inducing lipid oleamide. In a second major project, lab members are developing chemical methods for proteomics.

Ann Feeney, who was promoted to associate professor with tenure in the Department of Immunology. Feeney (B.A, Newton College; Ph.D., Cornell University) came to TSRI in 1992. The main focus of her laboratory is the analysis of factors that contribute to the non-random composition of the antibody and T cell receptor repertoires. She is investigating the mechanisms, including transcription factor activation and chromatin modification, which control the accessibility and subsequent inaccessibility of these antibody and TCR gene segments to the V(D)J recombination enzymes during lymphocyte development.

Wolfram Ruf, who was promoted to associate professor with tenure in the Department of Immunology. Ruf (M.D., University of Giessen, Germany; Ph.D., Max-Planck-Society) joined TSRI in 1988. His research focuses on the regulation of protease specificity by cellular receptors and inhibitors as well as the mechanism of cell signaling by proteases in inflammation, vascular biology, and cancer.

Erik Sorensen, who was promoted to associate professor with tenure in the Department of Chemistry. Sorensen (Ph. D., University of California, San Diego) joined TSRI in 1997. His laboratory develops strategies that permit efficient syntheses of architecturally unique, biologically active natural products and natural product-like probes for proteomic research.

Henrik J. Ditzel, who was promoted to associate professor in the Department of Immunology. Ditzel (M.D., Ph.D., University of Odense, Denmark) came to TSRI in 1997. The overall focus of his research is the study of human antibody responses in cancer and autoimmune disease at a molecular level. His lab is attempting to elucidate the precise role of the response, the antigens targeted, and the biological events and biochemical changes of proteins that may elicit such autoimmune or cancer-associated antibody responses.

Kenneth Fish, who was promoted to assistant professor in the Department of Neuropharmacology. Fish (B.S., University of California, San Diego; Ph.D., Oregon Health Sciences University) first worked at TSRI from 1989 to 1992 as a lab technician then research assistant in the Nelson lab. He returned to TSRI in 1998 for postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Sandra Schmid. Now located in the Harold L. Dorris Neurological Research Center, Fish conducts research to develop models of schizophrenia that reproduce the pathological processes and phenomenology associated with the disease and that predict responsiveness to antipsychotic drugs.

Hidehiro Kishimoto, who was promoted to assistant professor in the Department of Immunology. Kishmoto (M.D., Hokkaido University; Ph.D., University of Tokyo) came to TSRI in 1993. Currently, he is studying the mechanisms underlying the defect of central tolerance in a nonobese diabetic (NOD) model.


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John Yates, III, professor

Benjamin Cravatt, III, associate professor with tenure

Ann Feeney, associate professor with tenure

Wolfram Ruf, associate professor with tenure

Erik Sorensen, associate professor with tenure