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Symposium Celebrates Floyd Bloom’s 75th Birthday

A scientific symposium will celebrate Scripps Research Institute Professor Emeritus Floyd Bloom’s 75th birthday on Monday, April 23, 1:30 to 5 PM, at the Neurosciences Institute auditorium.

Scripps Research President and CEO Michael Marletta and Chair and Professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences Tamas Bartfai will welcome attendees and open the symposium. Speakers and their presentations include:

  • George Siggins, professor, Scripps Research, “FEBschrift: A Brief Semi-Historical ‘Preamble’ on a Longevous Science and Training Career”
  • Barry Hoffer, scientist emeritus, National Institutes of Health, “Animal Models of Parkinson’s Disease: Past, Presents, and Future”
  • Pierre Magistretti, professor, director, Brain Mind Institute, Lausanne, Switzerland, “From Glycogen to Memory: Thirty Years of Neuron-Glia Metabolic Coupling”
  • George Koob, chair and professor, Scripps Research Committee on Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, “Floyd’s ‘Twitching Mustache’: Neuropeptides Then and Now”
  • John Morrison, dean, Basic Sciences and Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, “Synaptic Correlates of Cognitive Performance: Implications for Cognitive Aging”
  • Charles Chavkin, Allen and Phyllis Treuer Endowed Chair of Pain Research, University of Washington, “Dynorphin: Then and Now”

A 1960 MD graduate of Washington University School of Medicine and chairman emeritus of the Scripps Research Department of Neuropharmacology, Bloom has built a body of research on chemical neuroanatomy. Bloom’s professional achievements have included membership in the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine, and President’s Council on Bioethics. He also served as president of American Association for the Advancement of Science and editor-in-chief of Science.

For more on Bloom, see his faculty page and the News&Views article, “Questions in Scientific Publishing: An Interview with Floyd Bloom.”

Florida Group Raises $160,000 for Cancer Biology Fellowships

In the first year of a five-year fundraising commitment benefiting the Scripps Research’s Department of Cancer Biology in Florida, the Woman’s Cancer Awareness Days (WCAD), a Palm Beach Gardens volunteer group, raised more than $160,000 to support postdoctoral fellowships at the institute.

The 2012 WCAD fellowships have been awarded to the following postdoctoral fellows:

  • Antonio Amelio of the Conkright lab, whose research aims to define the emerging role of CRTC/CREB regulatory processes in tumor development, maintenance, and progression to the malignant state
  • Homa Ghalei of the Karbstein lab, whose research focuses on mapping the regulatory networks of ribosome assembly, a key pathway upregulated in human cancer
  • Robert Rounbehler of the Cleveland lab, whose research investigates the role a certain oncoprotein—activated in at least half of all cancers—plays in preventing the destruction of specific messenger RNAs, which encode proteins critical for tumors.

The WCAD committee, headed by co-chairs Elaine Solomon and co-chair Barbara Sedransk, was founded in 2004. With assistance from PGA National’s Women’s Golf Association and hosted by PGA National Resort and Spa, the group stages a four-day fundraising festival of sports, games, and community activities that draws more than 750 participants. Event proceeds this year far exceeded previous fundraising efforts, according to organizers.

“We wanted to put the money directly into cancer research and felt that Scripps Florida was doing the most exciting, intensive kinds of research that can make a real difference in the lives of cancer patients and survivors–and they’re doing it right here, as members in our own community,” said WCAD founder Solomon.

Paper from the MacRae and Carragher-Potter Labs Highlighted in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology

A recent paper from the laboratory of Ian MacRae and Clinton Potter and Bridget Carragher has been highlighted in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. The paper, "The molecular architecture of human Dicer" by Lau et al. (NSMB 19, 436-440 (2012)), focuses on Dicer, a multi domain enzyme that generates small RNAs for gene silencing.

According to the journal's write up, "Turning Dicer on its head", "Lau et al. present a new model for the overall organization of full-length human Dicer. Although it represents a departure from currently accepted notions of Dicer's domain arrangement, the new model provides a plausible explanation for many of the protein's biochemical properties. In particular, certain properties of the helicase domain are addressed that have until now remained perplexing from a structural point of view."

This work was made possible using a novel domain mapping technique in conjunction with high-throughout electron microscopy.

Graduate Student Wins Found Animals Foundation Award

Owen Siggs, graduate student in the Scripps Research Kellogg School of Science and Technology Skaggs-Oxford Program, has won a 2012 Michelson Graduate Student Challenge award, sponsored by the Found Animals Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit dedicated to reducing euthanasia of pets in shelters.

Funded by Gary Michelson, an inventor of surgical devices and retired orthopedic surgeon, the program provides $15,000 cash awards for top scientific proposals to develop permanent, nonsurgical sterilants for dogs and cats.

Siggs’ proposal, which won in the “Depot Formulation” category, outlines an approach to block a key fertility hormone for the lifetime of the animal. 

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A scientific symposium April 23 will honor distinguished Scripps Research scientist Floyd Bloom and his many accomplishments.