Vol 10. Issue 19 /June 7, 2010
Scripps Research Institute Dedicates Dorris Neuroscience Center
By Mika Ono
The Scripps Research Institute dedicated the Dorris Neuroscience Center on May 25, 2010, officially launching the newly consolidated center and honoring the woman who has supported work at the institute for many years. Her gifts include an endowment to support neuroscience research.
"We are grateful to Helen L. Dorris for her continuing generosity," said Richard A. Lerner, president of Scripps Research, "as well as for her foresight to provide for research in the years to come. I have no doubt that scientific investigations at the Dorris Neuroscience Center will deepen our understanding of the nervous system, and lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of neurological diseases."
Professor Ulrich Mueller, director of the new center, said, "Thanks to Helen Dorris's benevolence, the new neuroscience center will make it possible for us to focus and renew our efforts to make an impact in one of the greatest challenges ever faced by science—understanding the human brain. We intend to lead the way in this research that will reveal novel strategies and targets for the treatment of nervous system disorders."
Helen Dorris—a mental health advocate and San Diego State University professor emeritus—made a significant gift to launch the new center through The Harold L. Dorris Neuroscience Foundation, named in her brother's honor. The new Dorris Neuroscience Center also consolidates and builds on two previous centers that she had made possible at Scripps Research, the Harold L. Dorris Neurological Research Center and Helen L. Dorris Institute for the Study of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders of Children and Adolescents. Dorris is a resident of San Diego. The new Dorris Neuroscience Center brings together scientists early in their careers with established researchers in the field, and provides them with high-end imaging technology and state-of-the-art genomic and genetic research tools to advance their research programs. The laboratories of many of the center's investigators are located in the Harold L. Dorris Neuroscience Center Building (previously known as the ICND building), a 53,000-square-foot structure with cutting-edge facilities situated on the east side of the Scripps California campus.
Using diverse biological, biophysical, and chemical approaches, the researchers at the new center conduct investigations that fall within two general areas of neuroscience: sensory systems (including smell, hearing, and pain) and neuronal circuitry (including the systems that govern memory). Stem cell research is a further important component of the program. In addition to Mueller, the center's faculty includes: Assistant Professor Kristin Baldwin, Professor Jerold Chun, Professor Hollis Cline, Assistant Professor Boaz Cook, Professor Ben Cravatt, Assistant Professor Anton Maximov, Associate Professor Mark Mayford, Professor Ardem Patapoutian, and Associate Professor Lisa Stowers.
"Members of the Dorris Neuroscience Center explore some of the most fundamental questions in neuroscience research," said Mueller. "How do stem cells differentiate to generate neuronal circuits? How do sensory systems process information? How do we store and retrieve memories? What are the mechanisms that lead to sensory impairment such as hearing loss or to debilitating diseases such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, and depression? We are also looking toward useful strategies for the treatment of these diseases."
In addition, the Dorris Center for Neuroscience will sponsor three Helen Dorris Scholars, an annual student award, a number of summer student internships, and a distinguished lecture series.
Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu