Four Leading Scientists to Join Scripps Florida Faculty

The Scripps Research Institute has announced the appointments of four noted scientists to the faculty of the new Scripps Florida biomedical research operation in Palm Beach County.

"We are fortunate to have such outstanding researchers forming the foundation of our staff at Scripps Florida," said Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner. "They are established or emerging leaders in their various fields who will contribute to the success of the new enterprise. Their work will enhance our understanding of human health to the benefit of all."

The four new faculty members are Patrick R. Griffin, John Hogenesch, Chris Liang, and Teresa Reyes.

Patrick R. Griffin: Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics

Griffin will be professor and head of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics in the Scripps Florida Division of Drug Discovery. Griffin was most recently chief scientific officer and vice president of research at ExSAR Corporation in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, an early-stage biotechnology company that uses a proprietary technology platform to rapidly develop biopharmaceuticals and small molecule drugs for established markets. Griffin's team established ExSAR's nuclear receptor drug discovery program that has resulted in a number of technology partnerships with leading pharmaceutical firms.

Prior to working for ExSAR, Griffin, 40, was senior director in the Basic Chemistry Department at Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, New Jersey, and senior director of molecular profiling proteomics. He directed more than 40 scientists focused on applying a wide range of technologies to the drug discovery process. He was also responsible for the development of technology that rapidly characterizes very large sets of chemical compounds and large collections of natural products.

He earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia, where he was involved in the development of biological mass spectrometry. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, focusing on systems biology.

He will join Scripps Florida in May.

John Hogenesch: Genome Technology

Hogenesch, who was raised in Gainesville, Florida, will be associate professor and associate director of Genome Technology, Divisions of Biomedical Science and Technology Development. He received his doctoral degree from Northwestern University working on signal transduction pathways mediated by bHLH-PAS transcription factors.

Prompted by his interests in circadian rhythms, Hogenesch, 36, joined the laboratory of Professor Steve Kay at Scripps Research and Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, both in La Jolla, California, for postdoctoral training. His research efforts focused on the application of emerging technologies in the study of transcriptional output of the biological clock. He currently serves as head of genomics at the Genomics Institute and assistant professor of neuropharmacology at Scripps Research.

He will assume his new position in October.

Chris Liang: Drug Discovery

Liang, who obtained his doctorate in chemistry from Princeton University in 1989, will be associate director of medicinal chemistry, Division of Drug Discovery. After a five-year tenure with Accelrys, a leading software provider for molecular modeling and drug design headquartered in San Diego, he joined SUGEN, a biotech company in South San Francisco, pioneering research and drug discovery on protein kinases. (SUGEN was acquired by Pharmacia, which in turn was acquired by Pfizer). During his seven years at SUGEN, he made significant contributions to a number of drug discovery projects and was honored as Associate Fellow of the Pharmacia Corporation in 2003.

Dr. Liang, 41, most recently served as the director of chemistry managing the New Lead Synthesis/Medicinal Chemistry, Combinatorial Chemistry, and Computational Chemistry groups. He has more than 30 scientific publications and over 20 patents in drug discovery.

He began his work at Scripps Florida this month.

Teresa Reyes: Biomedical Science

Reyes, who received her doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin, will be assistant professor Division of Biomedical Science. Her thesis work focused on the behavioral and immunological effects of peripheral cytokine administration.

For her postdoctoral training, she worked in the laboratory of principal investigator Paul Sawchenko at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. There, she used functional neuroanatomical techniques and molecular genetic tools to examine the central nervous system pathways that mediate changes in appetite and metabolism that accompany illness and infection.

Reyes, 34, most recently a senior research associate at the Salk Institute, has been awarded a five-year Mentored Research Scientist Development Award grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), an intensive career development experience in one of the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences leading to research independence.

She will join Scripps Florida in October.













"We are fortunate to have such outstanding researchers forming the foundation of our staff at Scripps Florida."

—Richard A. Lerner