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Chi-Huey Wong Awarded Nikkei Asia Prize

Chi-Huey Wong, Scripps Research Institute Ernest W. Hahn Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded the Nikkei Asia Prize for science, technology, and innovation.

Wong, who also serves as president of Academia Sinica in Taiwan, was cited for his research in glycochemistry, “which has opened the way for the development of vaccines and medicines, especially in areas related to cancer, infectious, and immunological diseases,” according to the award announcement.

Launched by Nikkei Inc., a Japan-based global media corporation, the Nikkei Asia Prize recognizes achievements of individuals or organizations in Asia that have improved peoples’ lives in that world region. The awards program recognizes significant contributions in three areas: regional growth; science, technology and innovation; and culture.

Adam Duerfeldt Receives American Cancer Society Fellowship

Adam Duerfeldt, research associate in the Boger lab, has been awarded a three-year fellowship from the American Cancer Society (ACS) for his project, “Design, Synthesis, and Evaluation of Novel Bleomycin Analogs.”

The ACS award is intended to support the training of postdoctoral researchers through initial funding leading to an independent career in cancer research, including basic, preclinical, clinical, cancer control, psychosocial, behavioral, epidemiology, health services, and health policy research.

Scripps Florida Hosts Molloscan Neuroscience Meeting

Mollusks got their scientific due this week as Scripps Florida hosted the second Molluscan Neuroscience Meeting, “Molluscan Neuroscience in the Genomic Era:  From Gastropods to Cephalopods.”

More than 80 scientists from around the world—including Israel, Italy, France and Great Britain—filled the Rodney B. Fink Education Pavilion to hear lectures on topics ranging from cognitive behavior in cuttlefish to the mechanisms of memory in Aplysia, the common sea slug, a gastropod (for cephalopods, think squid).

The sea slug has been used by neurobiologists for more than half a century, largely because its large neurons make it a breeze to study. Its neural circuitry is well known, so comparing learning behaviors with individual neurons and various synaptic connections is quite easily done.

The event opened with a widely attended reception on Tuesday night, followed by four full days of lectures. On Thursday afternoon, workshops focused on conducting laboratory research on cephalopods and the uses of increasingly available genetic data. In addition, there were poster displays by approximately 30 researchers as well as tables from around half a dozen different vendors.

The man at Scripps Florida responsible for bringing the international meeting to Jupiter is Sathyanarayanan Puthanveettil—“Sathya” to his colleagues—an assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience. Puthanveettil's research is focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying synapse specific long-term memory storage. He is a co-chair of the meeting with Tom Abrams of the University of Maryland and David Glanzman of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Puthanveettil himself gave a lecture, as did a pair of postdoctoral fellows from his laboratory, on the genomics of long-term memory, including some new data developed from their work with those simple but important gastropods. Ron Davis, chair of Department of Neuroscience, gave a special lecture on memory in insects, which were treated as honorary “Molluscans” for the conference.

Jeffery Kelly to Speak at OBR-San Diego Event

Scripps Research Professor Jeffery Kelly is a featured speaker at the upcoming panel discussion, "Is Biotech Merger and Acquisition the Only Way Forward for Pharma?" sponsored by the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (OBR)–San Diego on Monday, May 21, 6:30 to 9 PM, in the International House Great Hall on the University of California, San Diego campus.

Kelly will present a case study detailing the acquisition of his company by Pfizer. Other panel members include John Newsam, CEO of Tioga Research and managing director of Windhover Ventures, speaking on biotech startups, and Standish Fleming, managing member of Forward Ventures, providing a venture capital perspective on exit strategies.

“Every year, there are hundreds of mergers and acquisitions in the biotech and pharma sector. Although the billion-dollar transactions hog the limelight, many small biotech startups establish the proof-of-concept, then cash out through buy-outs by larger (usually pharma) companies,” said Kelvin Chan, OBR-San Diego president and Scripps Research graduate student. The panel also will explore the future direction of the biotech/pharma sector.

During a networking reception following the panel presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with panelists individually. Refreshments will be served. Although free of charge, the OBR event requires online registration. For additional details, contact

OBR-San Diego is part of an international life sciences network connecting academic innovators and industry professionals. Further information on OBR and its San Diego chapter is available on the organization’s website.

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Professor Chi-Huey Wong has won the Nikkei Asia Prize for science, technology, and innovation.