Team Finds Atomic Structure of Molecule that Binds to Opioids in the Brain
60 Years in Science: An Interview with Charles Weissmann
Scientists Win $2 Million to Study New Pathway Important in the Development and Maintenance of Lymphoma
Scripps California Welcomes New Life Sciences Networking Group




Charles Weissmann to Receive NYU Honorary Degree

Scripps Research Institute Professor Charles Weissmann, chairman of the Department of Infectology, will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree from New York University (NYU) at its 180th Commencement Exercises to be held Wednesday, May 16 at Yankee Stadium.

A former NYU School of Medicine faculty member, Weissmann is best known for his leading molecular biology research RNA virus replication, the cloning and expression of human interferon in E.coli, and the biology and evolution of prions. NYU honorary degrees recognize individuals whose careers in the arts, law, sciences, and humanities “demonstrate intellectual achievement, personal integrity, and a desire to engage with wider communities around the nation and the world,” according to the university’s announcement.

Weissmann is one of four 2012 NYU honorary degree recipients; others include Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Patrick Desbois, a Roman Catholic priest and long-time advocate of improved Catholic-Jewish relations.

Scripps Research Hosts NOBCChE Western Regional Meeting

Scripps Research hosted the Western regional meeting of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) from March 23 to 25. The conference featured scientific presentations, a science teacher workshop, small group tours of select Scripps Research laboratories, and a student poster session.

“This year’s western regional meeting reflects the objectives of NOBCChE to discover, transmit, and apply knowledge in the fields of science and engineering,” said NOBCChE San Diego Chapter Chair Ronald Lewis II, Scientific Advisor at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati. “As an alum of the Barbas lab here at Scripps La Jolla, I am so pleased to have The Scripps Research Institute host this meeting for the first time.”

Established in 1975, the NOBCChE (pronounced No-be-shay) mission is to support and build a cadre of people of color in science and technology. The organization promotes careers in science and technology as an achievable goal for elementary, middle, and high school students. In addition, NOBCChE encourages college students to pursue graduate degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Among the presenters at the conference were Scripps Research investigators K.C. Nicolaou, William Roush, and Kim Janda.

Kim Janda Invited to Serve on NIH Grant Review Body

Scripps Research Professor Kim Janda has accepted a National Institutes of Health invitation to serve a term on the Vaccines Against Microbial Diseases (VDM) Study Section at the Center for Scientific Review.

Study section members are selected on the basis of research accomplishments, publications, and significant scientific activities, honors, and achievements, as well as mature judgment and objectivity, and effective team work abilities, according to Richard Nakamura, acting director of the Center for Scientific Review.

During his four-year  tenure, beginning July 1, Janda and other VDM study section members will review NIH grant applications, provide recommendations to the relevant NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science.

Seok-Kyu Kwon Awarded HFSP Fellowship

Seok-Kyu Kwon, a research fellow in the Polleux lab, has been awarded a three-year Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) postdoctoral fellowship for his project, “Identification of the presynaptic function of the serine/threonine kinase LKB1.”

The competitive Human Frontier Science fellowship program encourages early career scientists to broaden their research skills by moving into new areas of study while working in a new country. Since the first HFSP grants and fellowships were awarded in 1990, 18 awardees have gone on to win Nobel Prizes in the fields of physiology or medicine, chemistry, or physics.

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Kwon studied molecular and cellular neuroscience at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. His project in the Polleux lab aims to provide major new insights into the molecular basis of presynaptic development, improving the understanding of the development of brain connectivity.

SOF Awards Spring California Postdoctoral Travel Grants

The Scripps Research Society of Fellows (SOF) has announced its spring cycle of Postdoctoral Travel Award winners for California postdocs. The winners, who each receive a $1,000 grant to cover travel expenses to present their work at a national or international scientific conference, are: 

  • David G. Gokhin of the Fowler lab, presenting “Thin filament lengths in nemaline myopathy” at the American Society for Cell Biology, San Francisco, CA
  • Yu-Chieh (Jack) Wang of the Loring lab, presenting “Detection and separation of undifferentiated human cells from heterogenous cell populations using lectins and novel antibodies” at the 2012 International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) Annual Meeting, Yokohama, Japan
  • Brian Moldt of the Burton lab, presenting “A non-fucosylated MAb has enhanced Fc ƴRIIIa-mediated activity in vitro but not improved protection against SHIV challenge in macaques” at the Keystone Symposia Conference HIV Vaccines in Keystone, CO

The SOF awards up to six SOF travel grants annually in two evaluation cycles. The next application deadline is October 1. Postdocs who have never attended a scientific meeting to present their current work are encouraged to apply; additionally, previously unsuccessful applicants are urged to re-apply. Visit the SOF website for details.

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Victor R. McCrary, president of NOBCChE, participates in a workshop session on fingerprinting at the recent meeting hosted by Scripps Research. (Photo by Weston Dunn.)