Eminent Scientist Charles Weissmann to Join Institute's
The Scripps Research Institute announced this week that internationally
renowned scientist Charles Weissmann will join Scripps Florida,
the institute's new biomedical research operation in Palm
Weissmann, a native of Switzerland, is currently senior
research scientist in the Department of Neurodegenerative
Diseases at the University College, London, and is a pioneer
in modern biomedical research and molecular biology. He will
head the Scripps Florida Department of Infectology.
"Dr. Weissmann is an old friend, a distinguished colleague,
and a symbol of excellence as our first appointment to Scripps
Florida," said Scripps Research Institute President Richard
A. Lerner, M.D. "He will provide outstanding leadership at
our new venture and will attract other eminent researchers
to our Palm Beach County campus."
Scripps Florida is being established as a result of the
vision and leadership of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who initially
proposed that the nonprofit biomedical research institution
open facilities in the state. With start-up funding from the
state and land and facilities from Palm Beach County, Scripps
Florida will serve as magnate and stimulus for biomedical
and pharmaceutical companies to locate in the area, creating
jobs and economic diversity.
"Charles Weissmann is a preeminent scientist and I welcome
him to Florida," said Governor Bush. "We're proud he will
call our state home. His hiring is symbolic of the caliber
of individuals we'll recruit to Scripps Florida."
Among Professor Weissmann's research interests that he will
continue to investigate at Scripps Florida are the pathogens
that cause malaria and tuberculosis, and such prion diseases
(spongiform encephalopathies) as mad cow disease.
"When you're conducting science at this levelsome
of the best science in the worldthen you are uniquely
situated to step in when there is a national need," said Governor
Bush. "As scientists such as Dr. Weissmann come here to affiliate
with Scripps, people from around the globe will increasingly
look to Florida for help in solving the scientific questions
of the day."
Charles Weissmann began his career with doctoral degrees
in both medicine and organic chemistry from Zurich University,
and then turned to the new field of molecular biology where
he was recognized as one of the most creative investigators
over several decades. He contributed to the first cloning
of alpha-interferon genes, the elucidation of the life cycle
of bacteriophages, the development of site-directed mutagenesis,
and the regulation of red blood cell components.
In recent years, Professor Weissmann has made breakthroughs
in the investigation of diseases induced by prions (small
proteinaceous infectious particles that resist inactivation
by procedures that modify nucleic acids) that affect animals,
such as mad cow disease, and humans, for example Creutzfeld-Jacob
Professor Weissmann has been internationally recognized
for his work, including memberships in the Royal Society (United
Kingdom) and National Academy of Science (USA). He has been
awarded six honorary doctoral degrees and many leading scientific
prizes. He was a cofounder of Biogen, the first European biotechnology
company and he continues to serve on a several corporate boards.
He is currently a member of Scripps Board of Scientific
Governors, which advises the institute's president on matters
of scientific inquiry and policy.