Vol 9. Issue 19 / June 15, 2009


Scripps Research Faculty Welcome Max Planck Florida's New Scientific Director
Scripps Research faculty are welcoming Nobel laureate Bert Sakmann, who has been named the scientific director of The Max Planck Institute for Bioimaging. The new 100,000-square-foot Max Planck research facility is being built adjacent to Scripps Florida on Florida Atlantic University's (FAU) Jupiter campus.

"Someone of Dr. Sakmann's stature and extraordinary scientific achievement will solidify the reputation of Palm Beach County as a premier destination for biomedical research in the U.S.," said Gerald Joyce, dean of the faculty at Scripps Research. "The scientists at Scripps Florida, especially those in the departments of Neuroscience and Molecular Therapeutics, look forward to interacting with Professor Sakmann and the team of world-class scientists who will be joining the Max Planck Institute in Florida."

Sakmann won the 1991 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with physicist Erwin Neher for their discoveries on single channels in cells. Their invention of the patch-clamp technique made it possible to examine the operation of individual ion channel proteins in real time. This opened the door for the scientists' later discovery of the role ion channels play in conditions including diabetes, cystic fibrosis, a number of cardiovascular diseases, and some types of neuromuscular disorders. More recently, Sakmann's research has focused on the functional anatomy of circuits in the brain.

This summer, Sakmann will begin assembling his research team, which will initially be located in the FAU temporary facilities previously occupied by Scripps Florida scientists.

Institute Makes Charity Navigator's Top Ten

The Scripps Research Institute has been named as one of the first ten organizations to achieve eight consecutive four-star ratings from Charity Navigator, a rating service that evaluates the efficiency and financial accountability of nonprofit groups.

"Less than one percent of the charities we've rated have received at least eight consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that The Scripps Research Institute outperforms most charities in America in its efforts to operate in the most fiscally responsible way," wrote the organization's president and chief executive officer, Ken Berger. "This 'exceptional' rating from Charity Navigator differentiates The Scripps Research Institute from its peers and proves that it's worthy of the public's trust."

Organizations are evaluated on quantifiable criteria, including the ratio of fundraising costs to results and income growth.

"We're delighted that Scripps Research is again being recognized as an outstanding organization," said Wendy Scott Keeney, Vice President of Philanthropy at Scripps Research.  "Gifts to the institute support excellence and innovation in research, both in basic science and in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human disease."

For the list, see http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=topten.detail&listid=100.

Scripps Florida's Charles Weissmann Awarded Honorary Membership in ISICR

Charles Weissmann, chair of the Department of Infectology, has been awarded honorary membership in the International Society of Interferon and Cytokine Research (ISICR) in recognition of his fundamental and essential contributions to the entire interferon field, which include the identification and cloning of type I interferon genes and the functional analyses of interferon stimulated genes. The award will be formally presented at the tri-society annual meeting of the ISICR, Society for Leukocyte Biology, and International Cytokine Society, in Lisbon, Portugal, in October.

SusAnn Winbush Wins National Research Service Award

SusAnn Winbush, a fifth-year graduate student in the Scripps Research Kellogg School of Science and Technology, has won a predoctoral National Research Service Award from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. Winbush, who is a member of the Roush lab on the Florida campus, will conduct a project titled "Total Synthesis of Palmerolide A."

Emily Plummer Awarded American Heart Association Fellowship

Emily Plummer, a second-year graduate student in the Manchester lab, has been awarded a two-year predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association. The award, which begins July 1, will support work on a project titled, "Elucidating the role of vimentin in viral cell entry."

Ian Seiple Honored with Roche's Excellence in Chemistry Award

Kellogg School graduate student Ian Seiple was recognized June 8 with Roche's Excellence in Chemistry Award for research accomplishments in the field of organic chemistry. The winning students were chosen by Hoffmann-La Roche chemists in Palo Alto and Nutley through a rigorous selection process. More than 45 faculty members at prominent U.S. universities were invited to nominate students to receive the award and participate in Roche's annual two-day symposium. During the symposium, the 12 winning students had opportunities to discuss their research projects, hear overviews of the drug discovery process by Roche scientists as well as case histories in medicinal and process chemistry and tour the Nutley site.

Eric Topol to Speak on "The Future of Wireless Medicine"

Professor Eric Topol, director of Scripps Translational Science Institute at Scripps Research and Scripps Health, will speak on "The Future of Wireless Medicine" on Thursday, June 25. The talk will be part of the "Future of Telehealth: Essential Tools and Technologies for Clinical Research and Care" conference sponsored by the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in collaboration with Internet2, the American Telemedicine Association, the Veterans Administration, and other federal partners.

The conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held on the NIH campus in Bethesda on June 25 and 26. The June 25 talks will be Web cast; for more information, see http://www.videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=7466.


Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu




Endeavor Magazine Wins Award of Excellence

Scripps Research's Endeavor magazine has again won the top honor from the Communicator Awards, an international awards competition judged and overseen by the International Academy of the Visual Arts. The competition honors creative excellence by communications professionals; the Award of Excellence is given to entrants "whose ability to communicate puts them among the best in the field."