News Release

The Scripps Research Institute and Oxford University Establish Joint Program for Doctoral Degree In Biology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry

La Jolla, California, and Oxford, England, September 11, 2003 - The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, California, and the University of Oxford Department of Biochemistry in Britain announced today their intention to offer a joint graduate program to train young scientists at the doctoral level at both world-renowned institutions.

Named for supermarket and drugstore magnate L.S. Skaggs and his wife, Aline, the Skaggs Oxford Scholarships Program will support the enrollment of 10 graduate students over the next five years. At the end of a five-year curriculum, Skaggs Oxford Scholars will receive a doctoral degree from TSRI and Oxford University.

This would mark the first time in its 800-year history that Oxford University had offered a degree jointly with another institution of higher learning. It would also be the first such degree offered by TSRI.

"It is an honor to be associated with Oxford University and its Department of Biochemistry," said TSRI President Richard A. Lerner, M.D. "Despite having quite different histories, our two institutions will now share a common path in this one regard - the education of the chemical biologists of the future."

"The Skaggs Oxford Scholarships create unique opportunities for multidisciplinary research and learning at the highest level," said Oxford University Professor Raymond A. Dwek, D.Sc., F.R.S. "The Department of Biochemistry at Oxford is one of the largest in the world with outstanding scientists in structural biology, cell biology and molecular genetics, who welcome these ties with TSRI and believe that many important research collaborations will result from these scholars having access to faculty on both campuses."

Chemical biology is an emerging interdisciplinary field that combines specialties ranging from organic chemistry to biology and biophysics into one approach. It seeks to find answers to some of the most pressing scientific questions of our day - such as discovering the identities, structures, and mechanisms of proteins and genes that are implicated in human health and finding ways to exploit this knowledge to develop drugs and treatments to alleviate human suffering.

Doctoral candidates selected as Skaggs Oxford Scholars will be enrolled at both institutions and spend two to three years studying biochemistry at Oxford University and two to three years exploring chemistry or biology at TSRI.

The application deadline for enrollment of the first two students for the fall of 2004 is January 1, 2004. Eligibility requirements and an application are available at

"This is a tremendous opportunity for outstanding students who wish to pursue a course of study at two institutions at the forefront of science and medical innovation," said Jeffery Kelly, Ph.D., TSRI's vice president of academic affairs and dean of the Kellogg School of Science and Technology, the institute's graduate school. "Not only will it give them the highest quality education, it also provides exposure to two distinct cultures as part of the educational experience."

"The Skaggs Scholarships will support integrated bi-institutional studies or the study of two distinct research problems over five years," said Mary Gregoriou, Ph.D., Biochemistry's director of graduate studies at Oxford. "This extended D.Phil./Ph.D. program should produce researchers ideally suited for the integrated biosciences of the future."

About L.S. and Aline W. Skaggs

L.S. Skaggs is the former chairman of American Stores Company, a supermarket and drug store holding company that grew under his direction from 11 stores to become the largest combined supermarket/drug store chain in the United States, owning Jewels Food Stores, Savon-Drugs, Star markets, Acme Markets, Osco Drug, and Lucky Stores. In 1999, American Stores was sold to Albertson's, Inc., a grocery store chain whose original founders included Skaggs' father.

L.S. and Aline W. Skaggs' philanthropy supports Catholic education, scientific research, basic human needs, and wildlife preservation. The Skaggs Institute for Research, a charitable foundation created by the Skaggs in 1996, is TSRI's largest benefactor and to date has provided grants of more than $75 million to fund TSRI's renowned Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, as well as graduate, postdoctoral, and clinical research programs. Three principal investigators at the Skaggs Institute are Nobel Prize laureates.

In addition to their support of TSRI, the Skaggs have funded major education projects in the Diocese of San Diego and Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and contributed to the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla. Nationally, they have provided funds to build a Catholic elementary school and high school near Salt Lake City, to create a medical clinic at Harvard University, and to provide thousands of scholarships to pharmacy students and disadvantaged youth.

About The Scripps Research Institute

TSRI is one of the world's largest, private, non-profit biomedical research organizations and is internationally recognized for its research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and synthetic vaccine development. It is dedicated to the creation of basic knowledge in the biosciences for medical application and the betterment of human health, to the pursuit of fundamental scientific advances through interdisciplinary programs and collaborations, and to the education and training of researchers from around the world preparing to meet the scientific challenges of the future.

About the University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is the oldest English-speaking university in the world, having been in existence for over 800 years. It is a world-class research institution, undertaking research in a huge range of subjects across Life and Environmental Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Medical Sciences and Education. It has a student population of over 16,500, both undergraduate and postgraduate.

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