Vol 7. Issue 1 / January 15, 2007


New Index Ranks Scripps Research Faculty Number One in Biophysics; Immunology, Biochemistry in Top Ten
A new index of graduate program faculty published in The Chronicle of Higher Education ranks The Scripps Research Institute's Kellogg School of Science and Technology as best in the nation in biophysics. Kellogg School faculty also ranked second in Immunology and seventh in Biochemistry.

The new ranking system, called the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, rates faculty members' scholarly output at more than 7,000 doctoral programs across the United States. The index, which was developed jointly by the State University of New York at Stony Brook and for-profit company Academic Analytics, uses data such as faculty publications, grants, and honors and awards to rank productivity.

Scripps Research launched its graduate program in 1989. Since then, the program has grown rapidly in both size and reputation, now consisting of some 200 students of the biological and chemical sciences. The Kellogg School has also been ranked in the top ten for these disciplines by U.S. News and World Report.

For more information on the new rankings, see "A New Standard for Measuring Doctoral Programs," in the January 12, 2007 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, available for the chronicle's subscribers at http://chronicle.com/weekly/v53/i19/19a00801.htm#top.

WASC Congratulates Kellogg School on "Exemplary" Proposal
The Scripps Research Institute's Kellogg School of Science and Technology has passed a major hurdle in the three-year reaccreditation process with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The Kellogg School's proposal, which outlined a self-study action plan aimed at continual improvement of the graduate program, has been accepted.

"The panel wishes to communicate that they considered [the proposal] to be exemplary," writes WASC Associate Director Neil Hoffman in the acceptance letter. "In addition to describing it as well organized, 'tight,' with good context in relation to the institutional mission, they viewed it as enlightening. Congratulations on your team effort that resulted in a proposal that we wish to use as a model for the WASC accreditation process."

WASC is one of six regional institutions in the United States that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities with the goal of establishing and maintaining high standards of quality and effectiveness. The maximum period of accreditation is ten years—ranted to the Kellogg School in 1999.

Scripps Research and Poinard Broaden Collaboration
Scripps Research and Poniard Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: PARD), a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on oncology, have announced an expansion of their 2005 research agreement. 

The expanded collaboration will include the discovery of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitors to treat cancer and will be co-led by David Schlaepfer, associate professor in the Scripps Research Department of Immunology in La Jolla, California, and Chris Liang, director of medicinal chemistry at Scripps Florida. 

"We are pleased to have negotiated this broadened research collaboration with The Scripps Research Institute under the terms of our existing agreement, which enables us to access scientific expertise at both the Scripps La Jolla and Palm Beach County sites," said Jerry McMahon, chairman, president, and CEO of Poniard. "Dr. Schlaepfer is an international expert in the study of FAK, and we believe that he will be an invaluable resource in our drug discovery efforts on this exciting and promising new cancer target."

Schlaepfer's research at Scripps Research focuses on molecular signaling that regulates cell motility and invasion. During cancer progression, tumor cells can acquire a highly motile and invasive phenotype. These properties directly promote tumor spread and metastasis. As FAK is commonly overexpressed in malignant human tumors, Schlaepfer is employing multiple strategies to inhibit FAK activity within tumor cells.

Poniard and Scripps's initial scientific collaboration represented the first major biotech collaboration for Scripps Florida. In addition to FAK inhibitors, the research initiative is focusing on discovering novel, small-molecule protein kinase inhibitors as therapeutic agents, including cancer treatments.


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