Vol 3. Issue 27 / September 20, 2004

In Brief

Joyce Awarded New NSF Grant
Scripps Research Professor Gerald Joyce will be one of three principal investigators in a new Chemical Bonding Center sponsored by the National Science Foundation in its effort promote highly innovative, multi-faceted research groups to tackle "big problems" in chemistry. The Darwinian Chemical Systems Center, which also includes Professor Jack W. Szostak of Massachusetts General Hospital and Steven A. Benner of the University of Florida, will focus on the long-term goal of synthesizing artificial chemical systems that exhibit Darwinian evolution. The NSF award provides $1.5 million to the center over a three-year period.

The researchers will use a combination of molecular design and laboratory selection to generate RNA-like structures that undergo self-replication. Along the way, the investigators will try to gain a better understanding of the principles that drive self-replication in molecular systems—an understanding that may provide important clues about the origin of life and may lead to many practical applications for such systems.


Crowley Wins Bristol-Myers Squibb Fellowship
Graduate student Brendan Crowley of the Boger lab has won a 2004 Bristol-Myers Squibb Fellowship in Synthetic Organic Chemistry. According to Bristol-Myers Squibb, fellows are chosen based on "demonstrated academic and research achievements and their potential for significant future accomplishments." As a fellow, Crowley is invited to the Unrestricted Grants in Synthetic Organic Chemistry Symposium hosted by Bristol-Myers Squibb in Wallingford, Connecticut in the spring. Crowley's research involves the synthetic and medicinal chemistry of the vancomycin group of glycopeptide antibiotics with a focus on overcoming bacterial resistance to these agents.


Zak Wins Eli Lilly Fellowship
Graduate Student Mark Zak of the Nicolaou lab is the recipient of the 2004-2005 Eli Lilly Graduate Fellowship in Organic Chemistry. The full-support award is given to an advanced organic graduate student selected by the organic chemistry faculty at Scripps Research. Zak's research interests focus on total synthesis of natural products.


Lunch and Learn: "Identity Theft"
Lisa Sharf, victim recovery officer with the Identity Theft Resource Center will speak on "Identity Theft: The Nightmare that Keeps on Giving" on Wednesday, September 29, from noon to 1 PM as part of the ongoing Lunch and Learn seminar series. Topics will include:

  • Who are these criminals? How do they steal? Why are they dangerous?
  • How you can protect yourself,
  • What to do if you are a victim of identity theft,
  • What legislative and assistance programs are in place to help victims,
  • How businesses and companies can protect you or put you at risk.

The event will take place in the W.M. Keck Amphitheater, The Beckman Center for Chemical Sciences. For more information, contact Jan Hill, Counseling and Postdoctoral Services, x4-2950. No reservations are necessary.


Open Enrollment: Changes in Domestic Partner Eligibility
Open Enrollment will be held via an online system from October 25 through November 12. This is the annual opportunity to make changes to your benefit selections and, if eligible, re-enroll (or enroll) in the health care or dependent care spending accounts for the 2005 plan year. Benefits Administration will be sending out a series of announcements over the next several weeks with important information you need to know regarding your benefits in 2005.

This week's topic: domestic partner eligibility. Effective with changes made during Open Enrollment and with the new plan year starting January 1, 2005, only same gender domestic partners or opposite gender domestic partners age 62 or over will be eligible for coverage. Employees in California will be required to register with the State of California's Domestic Partner Registry and provide their certificate as proof. For more information regarding the criteria, and to obtain the necessary forms and information on how to register with the State of California, see the state's web site. Since Florida State does not have a similar registry program, Florida employees with domestic partners on the plan will be required to sign an affidavit that they meet the California requirements. More information on domestic partnership can be found on the Domestic Partner Benefit Facts sheet.

Same or opposite gender domestic partners currently on the Scripps Research health plans will be grandfathered into the plan and eligible to continue coverage without meeting the above requirements. If a domestic partner is later removed from your coverage and then wishes to come back on to the Scripps Research plan (in the case of a status change for example), they must meet the new domestic partner eligibility requirements.

If you have any questions regarding the new domestic partner eligibility requirements, please contact Benefits Administration at x4-8487.


Web Page Memorializes Babior
A new web page pays homage to the late Scripps Research investigator Bernard Macy Babior (1935 – 2004). Available at the site are Babior's research papers, a biography, and video clips and quotes from colleagues. See: http://www.scripps.edu/mem/babior/


Financial Planning Seminar: "Debunking the Myths of Estate Planning"
Benefits Administration will be hosting a seminar by estate planning attorney and CPA Amy Rypins entitled "Debunking the Myths of Estate Planning: What Trusts Will and Won't Do," on Wednesday September 29, from noon to 1 PM. This session, the third in a yearlong series of financial planning seminars, will address common myths and questions surrounding the use of family trusts. The event will be held in the Scripps Research Training Room, second floor, 3377 North Torrey Pines Court.


Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu




Professor Gerald Joyce will be one of three principal investigators in a new Chemical Bonding Center sponsored by the National Science Foundation.