Harry Orf Named Scripps Florida Vice President of Scientific Operations

Scripps Research Institute President Richard A. Lerner and Florida Governor Jeb Bush have announced the appointment of Harry W. Orf of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School as vice president of scientific operations for Scripps Florida, the institute's new facilities in Palm Beach County.

Orf will oversee the administration and management of the scientific services that will support Scripps Florida's biomedical research, drug discovery, and technology development operations, first in an existing facility on the Florida Atlantic University campus in Boca Raton, then in newly built laboratories on the FAU Jupiter campus, and finally in the 364,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research complex to be constructed in northwest Palm Beach County, scheduled to open in late 2006.

"In establishing new operations, I believe you go for the best qualified person, who then attracts other exceptionally capable people," Lerner said. "Harry brings both a depth of scientific knowledge and top-level management skills to Scripps Florida. I am convinced he will lead his team to great accomplishments for the institute and for the state."

"Harry's exceptional qualifications make him the perfect choice to head up the Scripps Florida facilities and services," said Governor Bush. "His diverse background and training in molecular biology as well as his leadership in the U.S. military will be instrumental in leading a team that will propel Scripps Florida to the forefront of life-saving medical breakthroughs."

Orf, 54, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, holds a B.S. in chemistry, summa cum laude, from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and master's and doctoral degrees in chemistry from Harvard University, where he was also a research fellow in chemistry. He is also a 1991 graduate of the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College.

Orf has served for the past 21 years as director of the Molecular Biology Laboratories at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, the largest research and teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School. He is also a principal associate in genetics at the medical school. From 1977 to 1980, he was dean of Mather House, Harvard College, and from 1978 to 1983, lecturer in chemistry and biochemistry at the university

His executive management and administrative experience includes past memberships on the boards of directors of several biotechnology companies, including Gallia, Inc., and Cambridge Molecular Structures, Inc. He is a founder and principal of Cambridge Laboratory Consultants, Inc., and Nexus Cambridge Lexington LLC, and co-founder and board member of The Science Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a biotechnology incubator development.

"The vision of Scripps Florida is to bring world-class science, science education, and science-based economic development to Palm Beach County and Florida, while contributing to the quality of human health worldwide," Orf said. "I am delighted and honored to be a part of this extraordinary undertaking, and to help bring this vision to realization."

Orf also has a distinguished career in the U.S. Army Reserves, where he currently holds the rank of colonel with the 804th Medical Brigade. He spent the past year on active duty in Kuwait and Iraq with his unit and, upon returning home in February, was awarded the Bronze Star medal for distinguished service.

In addition to several academic honors, Orf has served his community in the areas of education, health, and safety. In 1996, he was awarded the Partnership Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education by the Massachusetts General Hospital-Timilty Middle School Partnership, and the following year received the American Hero Award from the U.S. Department of Education and City of Boston for his work with the Boston public schools. For the past 16 years, he has been chairman of the Biosafety Committee in Lexington, where he resides. He has also served as special consultant to the Boards of Health of other Massachusetts towns where biotechnology companies operate.

Orf is scheduled to begin his new position this summer.

Scripps Florida, a 364,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility, will be built on 100 acres of undeveloped land west of I-95 off of PGA Boulevard and bordered by Seminole/Pratt Whitney Road. The facility will focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development. Palm Beach County is providing an economic package that includes the land, $137 million toward construction of the permanent facility and related costs, and costs for temporary facilities for Scripps Florida scientists. Planning, development, and construction of the new campus are scheduled to begin as soon as contracts are finalized. The campus is expected to open in late 2006 and will ultimately employ more than 500 people.

The start-up costs of Scripps Florida, a division of The Scripps Research Institute headquartered in La Jolla, California, are supported by a one-time $310 million appropriation of federal economic development funds made by the State of Florida at the request of Governor Jeb Bush. Scripps Florida is expected to attract other research facilities, biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms, and residential, commercial, recreational, educational, and cultural development to the surrounding area.

Scripps Florida will first operate out of 8,000 square-foot lab facilities on the Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton campus. It will move in early 2005 to a 41,000-square-foot facility now being built by FAU on its Jupiter campus.


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"I am delighted and honored to be a part of this extraordinary undertaking," says Harry Orf, who will be Scripps Florida vice president of scientific operations.