Vol 10. Issue 23 / August 2, 2010


Carlos Barbas Wins 2010 NIH Director's Pioneer Award
Carlos F. Barbas III, professor at The Scripps Research Institute, has been named one of the winners of the National Institutes of Health's 2010 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's Pioneer Awards, which includes a research budget of up to $500,000 in direct costs per year for five years.

A key component of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, the Pioneer Award supports exceptionally creative scientists who take innovative approaches to major challenges in biomedical research. Barbas is one of 17 scientists named by NIH Director Francis S. Collins as new recipients of the prize, designed to give awardees the intellectual freedom to pursue groundbreaking new research directions.

Barbas, who holds the Janet and Keith Kellogg II Chair in Molecular Biology and Chemistry and joint appointments in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Chemistry and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research, was selected for the award on the basis of his proposal for future bold and high-impact work. Specifically, his proposal concerns chemically programming immunity, research that could lead to "instant immunity" vaccines for the flu, HIV-1, and cancer. The new approach would overcome a major drawback of current vaccinations—the lag time of days, or even weeks, that it normally takes for immunity to build against pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.

For more information about Barbas's work, see the Barbas faculty webpage and the Barbas lab website.

Richard Lerner Receives Honorary Degree from University of Warwick
Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner received an honorary degree from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom in July.

In announcing the honor, the university noted: "Dr. Lerner's scientific achievements span diverse areas of biomedical research and include unique insights into protein and peptide structure… However, he is most well-known for his groundbreaking research in the field of catalytic antibodies and combinatorial antibody libraries… As leader of The Scripps Research Institute, he has seen the organization triple its laboratory space and quadruple its staff and has focused its strength at the border between biology and chemistry. He has emphasized interdisciplinary work and fostered industrial collaboration agreements with major pharmaceutical companies. He also encouraged the establishment of Scripps Florida, a major science centre focusing on biomedical research, technology development, and drug design that opened in 2009. During his long career, Dr. Lerner has been the recipient of many international prizes and awards; he has been elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the United States National Academy of Sciences and has received many honorary degrees, including those from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2003, and the University of Oxford, 2007."

For more information about Lerner’s work, see his faculty webpage.

Daniel Wacker Awarded Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Fellowship
Daniel Wacker, a graduate student at the Scripps Research Kellogg School of Science and Technology, has won a two-year fellowship from Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Foundation for Basic Research in Medicine. According to the foundation, the fellowships are awarded to "outstanding young scientists who wish to pursue an ambitious Ph.D. project in basic biomedical research in an internationally leading laboratory." The award will support Wacker's work in Professor Raymond Stevens' lab on a project titled "Structural and functional characterization of the human υ-opiod receptor."

Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu