News Release

Scripps Research Institute Scientist Awarded the Shaw Prize

LA JOLLA, CA – June 7, 2011 – The Shaw Prize Foundation announced today that Bruce A. Beutler, chair of the Department of Genetics at The Scripps Research Institute, has been awarded a 2011 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine, for “discovery of the molecular mechanism of innate immunity, the first line of defense against pathogens.” Beutler shares the $1 million prize with Jules A. Hoffmann of the University of Strasbourg (France), and Ruslan M. Medzhitov, the David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University.

Established by Chinese film and television industry leader Run Run Shaw in Hong Kong in 2002, the Shaw Prize honors individuals who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or application and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on humankind.

A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, Beutler determined how innate immune system cells detect a potentially invasive microorganism present in the body. The same system that provides awareness of infection may sometimes drive inflammatory or autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus. Beutler, who holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.D. from the University of Chicago, has spearheaded the use of a technique called "forward genetics" to study genes used by the mammalian innate immune system to clear pathogens from the body.

Shaw prizes are awarded each year in the fields of astronomy, mathematical sciences, and life science and medicine. Beutler, Hoffmann, and Medzhitov will receive the 2011 Shaw Award in Life Sciences and Medicine at a ceremony at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on September 28.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and vaccine development, as well as for its insights into autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious disease. Headquartered in La Jolla, California, the institute also includes a campus in Jupiter, Florida, where scientists focus on drug discovery and technology development in addition to basic biomedical science. Scripps Research currently employs about 3,000 scientists, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students on its two campuses. The institute's graduate program, which awards Ph.D. degrees in biology and chemistry, is ranked among the top ten such programs in the nation. For more information, see


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