The Scripps Research Institute’s Ardem Patapoutian Named HHMI Investigator

LA JOLLA, CA – May 9, 2013 ­– Ardem Patapoutian, professor in the Dorris Neuroscience Center at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator, based on demonstrated potential to contribute significantly to biomedical science. 

“I am immensely pleased for Ardem and what his selection says about him and TSRI,” said Michael A. Marletta, president and CEO of TSRI. “Ardem's work in mechanotransduction is transformative. Our expectations are even higher for him now.”

Patapoutian and 26 other top biomedical researchers from across the country were selected for HHMI’s flagship investigator program from among 1,155 applicants. The new HHMI investigators will begin five-year appointments in September, receiving the significant support necessary to drive their research in creative new directions

The current group of 330 HHMI investigators includes 15 Nobel laureates and more than 160 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Patapoutian and his team are investigating the molecular underpinnings of mechanotransduction, the process by which cells convert mechanical forces into chemical signals. Specifically, the lab is focused on identifying the molecules that sense force, determining how these sensors work, and elucidating their physiological roles in biological processes and diseases involving mechanotransduction, including sensing touch, pain and blood pressure.

Patapoutian was the only new HHMI investigator from the San Diego area this year. In addition to TSRI, other institutions represented in the new group include Harvard University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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