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Scripps Research chemist receives prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Award

LA JOLLA, CA – May 8, 2018 – Floyd Romesberg, PhD, professor at The Scripps Research Institute, has won the 2018 Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Bioorganic Chemistry Award for his ground-breaking contributions to the expansion of the genetic alphabet. Romesberg will receive £2000, a medal and will conduct a lecture tour in the United Kingdom.

Romesberg’s work supports the development of new molecules that add to the genetic code. His recent studies have expanded the natural library of four DNA bases to include two artificial bases. This advance in bioorganic chemistry and synthetic biology has fueled new research to produce unnatural proteins and semi-synthetic organisms for use in drug development.

“I am honoured to receive the RSC Bioorganic Chemistry Award,” says Romesberg. “As an undergraduate and graduate student, my studies were focused strictly on chemistry, especially physical organic chemistry, but as a postdoctoral student working in the lab of Peter Schultz (now Scripps Research president and CEO) at UC Berkeley, I got a glimpse of how addressing biological problems really benefits from the rigor of physical organic approaches, and I have strived to maintain the same rigor in my independent career.

“My group’s work to develop a third base pair and deploy it in DNA in a living cell began in 1998. The project most recently culminated with the demonstration that our unnatural base pair not only can be replicated and maintained in the genome of bacteria, but also that bacteria can be used in an unnatural codon to produce proteins with more than the 20 natural amino acids, work which truly exemplifies what can be achieved by combining chemistry and biology.”

RSC awards also acknowledge the importance of teamwork across the chemical sciences, and the abilities of individuals to develop successful collaborations. According to Robert Parker, PhD, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry:

“The chemical sciences are vital for the wellbeing of our world and chemical scientists help to change people’s lives for the better. That’s why we’re so proud to celebrate the innovation and expertise of our community through our Prizes and Awards.

“This year’s inspiring and influential winners come from a range of specialisms, backgrounds, countries and communities. Each has done their bit to advance excellence in the chemical sciences – to improve the lives of people around the world now and in the future.”

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs more than 2,500 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including two Nobel laureates and 20 members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering or Medicine—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. In October 2016, TSRI announced a strategic affiliation with the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), representing a renewed commitment to the discovery and development of new medicines to address unmet medical needs. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.

The Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry is the world’s leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences. With over 50,000 members and a knowledge business that spans the globe, we are the UK’s professional body for chemical scientists; a not-for-profit organisation with 175 years of history and an international vision for the future. We promote, support and celebrate chemistry. We work to shape the future of the chemical sciences – for the benefit of science and humanity.

Rewarding Excellence and Gaining Recognition

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Prizes and Awards recognise achievements by individuals, teams and organisations in advancing the chemical sciences. We want to reward those undertaking excellent work in the chemical sciences from across the world.

There are over 80 Prizes and Awards in our main portfolio, all of which aim to accurately reflect the broad scope of achievement in our community. So whether you work in research, business, industry or education, recognition is open to everyone.

More information is available at: rsc.li/prizes-awards

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Floyd Romesberg, professor at The Scripps Research Institute (High-res image)


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