Vol 9. Issue 31 / October 19, 2009

Coming Home Twice

By Eric Sauter and Mika Ono

For Briana Weiser, becoming a new graduate student at Scripps Florida is like coming home twice.

Weiser is one of six new students on the Florida campus (who include three transferring to Scripps Florida with their advisors) and a total of 23 entering students in the Kellogg School of Science and Technology on both the Florida and California campuses.

Weiser grew up in nearby Wellington, Florida, attended public school there, and then went north to Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate studies. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in molecular and cellular biology – with a minor in chemistry on top of that.

Last summer, she was an intern in the laboratory of Scripps Florida Assistant Professor Tim Tellinghuisen, who has a national reputation for his studies of the hepatitis C virus, in what she calls a "crash course" on the virus.

As a graduate student, Weiser is once again working in Tellinghuisen's lab.

"One of the best things about Tim's lab is that I'm learning about the link between a virus like hepatitis C and diseases like diabetes," she said. "It's that human side of science that interests me. I couldn't work in a place where I wasn't helping people in some way."

As part of her studies at the Kellogg School, Weiser will also take classes, available from more than 100 faculty members representing every department at Scripps Research. Teleconferencing technology enables students on both coasts to participate in classes given on the other campus.

With specialties in organic, bioorganic, and biophysical chemistry, the Kellogg School program, which can now boast a total of 230 students and several hundred alumni working at prestigious institutions nationwide, has consistently ranked among the top ten in the country. News & World Report, for example, currently ranks the program seventh in the biological sciences and sixth in chemistry.

And Weiser gets to attend the program in her own backyard.

"That's why I applied here," she said. "The resources here can't be found at other research institutes. Plus it's a top-ten Ph.D. program right here in the place where I grew up, so I can be with my family. What could be better than that?"




Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu



First-year graduate student Briana Weiser, who grew up in Wellington, Florida, is researching the hepatitis C virus. (Photo by BioMedical Graphics.)