Scientists Create Molecular Map to Guide Development of New Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis and Other Diseases
Team Sheds Light on How Body Fends Off Bacteria
Scientists Identify Most Lethal Known Species of Prion Protein
Scripps Florida Team Awarded Nearly $1.5 Million to Develop Potent New HIV Inhibitors




Martha Fedor Promoted to Full Professor; Ashok Deniz Receives Tenure

As part of the February meeting of The Scripps Research Institute Board of Trustees, two senior faculty promotions were announced.

Martha Fedor, a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, has been promoted to the rank of full professor in the Department of Chemical Physiology. The Fedor lab studies the mechanisms of RNA assembly and catalysis, research critical to understanding how RNAs mediate important steps in normal growth and development. For further information, visit Fedor’s faculty page and lab website.

Ashok Deniz has been promoted to associate professor with tenure in the Department of Molecular Biology. The Deniz lab uses and develops state-of-the-art single-molecule tools to probe key biophysical questions in molecular and cell biology. Particular interests include the mechanisms of protein folding, misfolding, and assembly, essential in understanding fundamental biology and disease. Further information is available at the Deniz faculty page and lab website.

Jonathan Hollander Receives Pathway to Independence Award

Jonathan Hollander, staff scientist in the Kenny lab, has received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pathway to Independence Award through the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The award provides up to five years of mentored and independent support for “highly promising and talented investigators,” according to the NIH. Hollander’s grant topic is “Defining the Role for Orexin Transmission in Nicotine Reinforcement.”

PNAS Features Addiction Study

A paper by scientists from the University of Toronto, Scripps Research, and the University of Western Ontario was featured on the cover of the February 21, 2012 (vol. 109, no. 8) issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, “Phasic D1 and tonic D2 dopamine receptor signaling double dissociate the motivational effects of acute nicotine and chronic nicotine withdrawal,” by Grieder et al. showed that the craving for nicotine experienced by smokers trying to kick their habit—and which pushes many to relapse—is in part the result of specific patterns of dopamine neuronal activity. For more information, see the study, the accompanying commentary, and the University of Toronto write up “Researchers identify neurobiological mechanism underlying nicotine withdrawal symptom.”

New Website Spreads Word about Anti-Malaria Research Using Donated Computer Time

The Olson lab’s “GO Fight Against Malaria” project, has launched a new website at to help spread the word about its effort to accelerate discovery of effective anti-malaria drug therapies. In the project, scientists use the massive computational power of IBM’s World Community Grid, a global community of computer users who have donated unused time on almost 2 million PCs to create a virtual “supercomputer of the people.” Using the resource, the scientists are computationally evaluating millions of chemical compounds against different molecular drug targets from the malaria parasite to advance drug discovery against multidrug-resistant mutant “superbugs” of malaria.

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Symposium Brings Together Array of Chemists
Scripps Research Professor Jin-Quan Yu, Nobel laureate Ei-ichi Negishi of Purdue University, and Scripps Research Professor K.C. Nicolaou (left to right) visit during a break at the February 10 23rd Frontiers in Chemistry symposium organized by Nicolaou and Professor Phil Baran. (Photo by Cindy Brauer.)

Symposium speakers included Scripps Research President Michael Marletta, Ei-ichi Negishi of Purdue University, Paul Alivisatos of the University of California, Berkeley, and Paul Wender of Stanford University (left to right).(Photo by Cindy Brauer.)