Vol 10. Issue 30 / October 11, 2010


Sheng Ding Receives $1.5 Million Transformative Award to Investigate Stimulation of Neuron Regeneration in the Retina
Scripps Research Institute Associate Professor Sheng Ding has won $1.5 million as part of a larger NIH Transformative Award to investigate the regenerative potential of retinal cells – research that could facilitate the development of therapies to restore vision to patients with severe blindness caused by diseases such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.

The Transformative Award program, funded through the Office of the NIH Director and the Common Fund, is intended "to support research that has the potential to transform the way we think about and conduct science," according to Francis Collins, director of the National Institutions of Health, "so the recipients represent an elite few with truly bold ideas."

Joining with Kang Zhang, professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Shiley Eye Center, and Thomas Reh, professor at the University of Washington, Ding's lab will work with cells called Muller cells. These abundant cells have the ability to regenerate nerve cells after retinal injury in fish and usually play a supporting role in the central nervous system neurons of humans, such as those present in the eye or brain. The team plans to screen more than 100,000 compounds to identify the chemicals that prompt mouse Muller glia to develop new neurons, conferring the power of regeneration to the mammalian retina. The scientists hope that this work will provide new avenues for the development of cell-based therapy and small molecule drugs for regenerative medicine, as well as facilitating a new understanding of biological mechanisms.

Scripps Research Paper Makes "Most-Read" List
The journal Chemical Biology and Drug Design has listed a Scripps Research paper as one of its "most-read papers," based on online data from January to July 2010. The study, "Fragment-Based Screen against HIV Protease," by Alexander L. Perryman, Qing Zhang, Holly H. Soutter, Robin Rosenfeld, Duncan E. McRee, Arthur J. Olson, John E. Elder, and C. David Stout is available from Chemical Biology and Drug Design. For a News&Views article about the paper, see "Scientists Find Two Compounds that Lay the Foundation of a New Class of AIDS Drug."

Tom Kodadek Named Innovator Finalist by South Florida Business Journal
Professor Tom Kodadek has been named a finalist in the "Innovator" category of The South Florida Business Journal 2010 Excellence in Health Care Awards. Finalists and winners, who will be announced at an October 14 luncheon, will be profiled in the October 15 edition of the publication.






















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