In Brief

Weissmann Wins Warren Alpert Foundation Prize

Charles Weissmann, head of the Department of Infectology at the new Scripps Research campus in Palm Beach County, Florida, has won the sixteenth annual Warren Alpert Foundation Scientific Prize, awarded by the Warren Alpert Foundation to researchers who have made an impact on hepatitis therapy.

Weissmann shares the prize with David V. Goeddel, founder and CEO of Tularik, Inc., for crucial work in which they cloned Hu-IFN-a in the bacterium E. coli and demonstrated that biologically active interferon could be produced in large enough quantities to make it a practical treatment for disease.

Interferon-alpha is the key component of the only known treatment regimen for hepatitis C, a viral disease of the liver spread by exposure to the blood of those already infected. Approximately 170 million persons suffer from chronic hepatitis C infection worldwide, and two to three million new cases are diagnosed each year. If untreated, chronic hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis, and infection raises the risk of liver cancer 100-fold. But using a combined regimen of pegylated interferon-alpha and ribavirin, doctors now cure about 50 to 80 percent (depending on the viral strain) of chronically infected hepatitis patients, heading off permanent liver damage and cancer. Interferon-alpha is also used to treat hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, various forms of leukemia, and Kaposi's sarcoma, a cancer associated with HIV infection.

Stowers Chosen as 2004 Pew Biomedical Scholar
Assistant Professor Lisa Stowers has been chosen as one of 15 Pew Biomedical Scholars this year by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the University of California at San Francisco. The prestigious scholarship will fund her research over four years and will provide a community of fellow scholars, who will meet regularly to discuss ideas, challenges, and obstacles across sub-specialties.

Stowers' research focuses on the topic of how pheromones—chemical signals that organisms use to communicate with one another—influence an animal's social behavior. Researchers have long known that these chemicals are recognized by a specialized brain structure called the vomeronasal organ (VNO). Models lacking a VNO, however, can still detect and respond to pheromones. Using a combination of genetic, biochemical, and behavioral analyses, Stowers will explore the possibility that a particular population of poorly characterized neurons lying outside the VNO plays a role in controlling response to pheromones. She will also analyze whether humans have a similar pheromone-sensing system that might play into our own behaviors and social interactions.

On the Road to the Scripps Research Picnic, Street Scene 2004
Mark your calendars! The Scripps Research picnic—TSRI Street Scene 2004—will be Friday July 16, from 3:30 to 7:30 PM in the back parking lot of the CIMBio Building. Street Scene participants will enjoy the sights, aromas, tastes, and sounds of the festival, which will feature a Battle-of-the-Bands contest. Be part of the audience at the end of the contest to vote for your favorite band. Street Scene 2004 will also feature face painting, carnival booths, palm readers, popcorn, sno cones, hot pretzels, a 25-foot slide in the shape of a giant whale, a wacky make-and-take hat booth, a Graffiti Board, and competitions including The Ninja Attack and jousting. Look for an invitation and map to the CIMBio Building, coming to your interoffice mailbox soon.

Financial Awareness Week
Benefits Administration will be hosting its sixth annual Financial Awareness Week Monday, July 12 through Friday July 16. Presentations, which are aimed at both beginning and advanced investors, will include those on: Social Security, systematic withdrawal and life annuity, first time homebuyers /refinancing, investment strategies, post-retirement health insurance options, GoldenState Scholarshare Program, financial blunders, and stocks. Look for more information via mail and e-mail over the next two weeks.

Financial Planning Seminar: "Understanding Investments"
Benefits Administration will be hosting "Understanding Investments", the second in a yearlong series of financial planning seminars, on Tuesday June 22nd from noon to 1 PM. This session will offer an overview of the key components of developing and managing an investment plan and portfolio, such as the importance of diversification and methods for protecting investments in a fluctuating market. The event will be held in the Scripps Research Training Room, 2nd floor, 3377 North Torrey Pines Court.

TB Screenings, Hepatitis B Immunizations, Serum Draws, and Tetanus Immunizations
On Monday, June 28, Wednesday, June 30, and Friday, July 2, personnel from Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group will be onsite to conduct TB screenings, Hepatitis B immunizations, serum draws, and tetanus immunizations. The clinics will be conducted at the Administrative Offices (3301 North Torrey Pines Court) on the P1 level from 11 AM to 2 PM. No appointments are necessary. TB screening requires a 48 to 72 hour follow-up. Individuals receiving the TB screen on Monday will need to return on Wednesday, and individuals screened on Wednesday, will need to return on Friday. Initiation of the TB screening process will not be available on Friday, but Hepatitis B immunization, serum draws, and tetanus immunizations will be. To learn more about these programs, see the Environmental Health & Safety Occupational Medicine web page, which includes a map and patient information sheets.

Look for Next News&Views July 6

The next issue of News&Views will be published by Tuesday, July 6 due to the July 4 holiday and our bi-weekly summer schedule. The deadline for announcement and calendar submissions is Wednesday at noon for the following week's publication.


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