News Release

Acclaimed Immunologist Howard T. Petrie Named Professor at Scripps Florida

La Jolla, CA, April 11—The Scripps Research Institute has announced the appointment of acclaimed Florida immunologist Howard T. Petrie, Ph.D., as professor in the Division of Immunology, Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Institute’s new operations in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Dr. Petrie, 48, is a renowned specialist in the study of the processes that induce bone marrow stem cells to differentiate into T lymphocytes throughout the course of life. T lymphocytes can be lost from the body for a variety of reasons, including bleeding, aging, infection, or chemotherapy drugs.  These lost cells must be replaced, and deficiencies in this process can result in life-threatening susceptibility to infection, particularly by viruses. His work focuses on understanding how T lymphocyte production occurs under normal circumstances, in order to define the causes underlying T lymphocyte deficiency diseases, and to develop treatments for these deficiencies.

“Howard’s work is groundbreaking and has significantly increased our knowledge in ways that move us toward both understanding essential life processes and finding avenues for correcting health-destroying deficiencies,” said Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner. “Scripps Florida is fortunate to be able to give Howard the opportunity and tools to push his research even further ahead.”

“The vision and resources provided by Scripps Research and the state of Florida have created an environment that is virtually unique, incorporating state-of-the art technology with a breadth of research interests, said Petrie.  “I’m pleased and eager to be able to play a role in this venture.”

Howard T. Petrie, Ph.D.

Dr. Petrie, a native of Pennsylvania, received both his Bachelor of Science (1978) and Master of Science (1981) degrees, with majors in microbiology, from Pennsylvania State University, in University Park, Pennsylvania. He earned his Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha in 1988.

He then completed a four-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Lymphocyte Differentiation Unit of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, followed by a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Section of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

From 1993 to 2004, he was an assistant member, then associate member, of the Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York.

During the past year, he has been a professor in the Departments of Microbiology/Immunology and Medicine (Hematology and Oncology) at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida.

Dr. Petrie has published more than 45 papers in leading research journals, as well as contributing to a number of books.  He has presented his work at major scientific conferences around the world.

He is currently associate editor of Clinical and Developmental Immunology and has served in various editorial positions at The Journal of Immunology and Seminars in Immunology.

In his leisure hours, Dr. Petrie is an avid tennis player and enjoys fishing, sailing, and snorkeling.

About the Scripps Research Institute and Scripps Florida

The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, and Palm Beach County, Florida, is one of the world's largest, independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations.  It stands at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development.

The Scripps Research Institute employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel in 14 buildings overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, a part of the City of San Diego.

Scripps Florida will be a 364,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility to be built on 100 acres of undeveloped land in Palm Beach County.  Scripps Florida will focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development, employing more than 500 researchers and support staff by 2010. Palm Beach County and the State of Florida have provided start-up economic incentives for development, building, staffing, and equipping the campus.
Scripps Florida is now operating with more than 100 researchers and technicians at a 40,000 square-foot facility on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter.

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