Vol 11. Issue 18 / May 23, 2011
Scripps Research Appoints Noted Neuroscientist to Faculty
By Eric Sauter
The Scripps Research Institute has appointed Kirill Martemyanov as associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience.
Martemyanov, who is 36, will work on the Scripps Florida campus in Jupiter. Prior to his appointment, he was assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota.
"Kirill's work has already uncovered some novel mechanisms of G proteins and has clearly indicated their potential as targets for drug development," said Ron L. Davis, chair of the Scripps Research Department of Neuroscience. "We want to offer Kirill a warm welcome to Scripps Florida and the department."
Martemyanov's laboratory is investigating the fundamental principles governing signal transduction in G protein-coupled receptor pathways, which mediate a vast number of biological processes such as perception of light and odor, as well as responses to hormones and neurotransmitters. Dysfunction in G protein pathways is associated with a range of the disorders, including mental, neurological, visual, and cardiovascular diseases.
"I'm extremely pleased to join the Scripps Florida," said Martemyanov, who lives in Jupiter with his family. "This is a remarkable environment because the people here are focused on doing great research, not to mention working in amazing facilities. I have been hearing about The Scripps Research Institute since I started in science, so joining its faculty is a tremendous honor for me."
Martemyanov received a degree in biochemistry from Samara State University, Russia, graduating summa cum laude in 1996. He received his Ph.D. degree from Institute of Protein Research, Russian Academy of Sciences, in 2000.
Martemyanov received a 1998 European Academy Prize in Biology and the 1999 Russian Biochemical Society Award. He was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Mechanisms of Ocular Diseases from Harvard University for 2000-2002. He received an American Heart Association Fellowship in 2002. Two years later, he received the Knights Templar Foundation Award and, in 2008, was awarded a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship.
In some respects, Martemyanov said, Scripps Research already feels familiar.
"I received my doctoral training at the Institute of Protein Research," he said, "and the head of the institute really tried to fashion it after Scripps Research. So, I find I'm very much at home with the way things are done here."
At Scripps Florida, Martemyanov will focus on studying the role of powerful regulators of G protein pathways called RGS proteins in controlling signaling pathways in the nervous system. "RGS proteins act as a braking mechanism in controlling the extent of G protein signaling," said Martemyanov. Specifically, his laboratory will study how dysfunction in RGS proteins leads to the development of neuropsychiatric diseases, drug addiction, and blindness. A major effort will be to assess the potential of pharmacologically targeting these proteins with the goal of developing novel treatments.
"Everything that we do is medically driven," Martemyanov said. "We are trying to understand the mechanisms behind devastating diseases with the hopes of finding ways that will ultimately cure them."
For more information on Martemyanov's work, see his website at www.scripps.edu/martemyanov.
Send comments to: mikaono[at]scripps.edu