News Release

Landenberger Foundation Awards Three New Grants to Scripps Florida

JUPITER, FL, February 10, 2010 – Scripps Florida has received three new grants from the Philadelphia-based Margaret Q. Landenberger Research Foundation, totaling more than $400,000. The new funds will support scientific research by Professor Donny Strosberg and Assistant Professor Nagi Ayad, as well as a special conference for non-profit organizations hosted by Scripps Florida.

Toward Treatments for Metabolic Disease

The Landenberger Foundation awarded a two-year, $300,000 grant to Donny Strosberg, a professor in The Scripps Research Institute’s Department of Infectology, to support his lab’s studies on the possibility of developing novel treatments for metabolic diseases.

“I’m very pleased to receive this grant award from the Landenberger Foundation,” Strosberg said. “They have been very supportive of the work of Scripps Florida scientists, providing funding in areas that are not always able to attract significant funding from other sources. As such, they have been a terrific partner in helping get a number of important projects off the ground and I’m grateful for their support.”

Specifically, the grant will support Strosberg’s research on the impact of agonists – compounds that bind to cell receptors and create a cellular response – on three receptors that play a critical role in the process of lipolysis, which is the breakdown of triglycerides within the cell to be used for fuel.

Strosberg is the fourth Scripps Florida scientist to receive an award from the foundation in the last four years. In 2008, Michael Conkright, an assistant professor in the Department of Cancer Biology, received a $150,000 grant. In 2007, Nagi Ayad, also an assistant professor in the Department of Cancer Biology, and Paul Kenney, an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics, received grants of $125,000 and $65,000 respectively.

Research Relevant to Cancer

Ayad again received funding from the foundation this year, with a grant of $100,000 to continue his work in the field of cell cycle progression, which has serious implications for cancer research and treatment. Not a lot is known about the moment when cell division – proliferation – stops and when cell differentiation – when the cell decides what it wants to be when it matures – begins. If the cell goes into proliferative overdrive and fails to exit the cell cycle, these rapidly dividing cells can turn into cancer.

Ayad’s most recent study, Activation Domain Dependent Degradation of Somatic Wee1 Kinase, was published on December 29, 2009, in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Sharing Expertise

In addition to the grants for scientific research, the Landenberger Foundation approved a grant of $25,000 to Scripps Florida to host a special conference to help other small foundations that specialize in supporting biomedical research to develop greater expertise in their review and analysis of scientific grant requests.

The conference will take place on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 from 9 AM to 4 PM at the Scripps Florida campus.

About the Landenberger Foundation

Formed in 1992 and located in Philadelphia, PA, the Margaret Q. Landenberger Research Foundation provides initial funding for novel medical research projects in the hope that this will help the scientists further expand their research through additional grants from other sources. Brown Brothers Harriman Trust Company, N.A. serves as the foundation’s corporate trustee.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development. Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel. Scripps Research is headquartered in La Jolla, California with a second campus located in Jupiter, Florida. Research at Scripps Florida focuses on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development.

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