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In Brief

Sotirios Totokotsopoulos Awarded BMS Fellowship

Sotirios Totokotsopoulos, graduate student in the Nicolaou lab, has been named one of five 2012-2013 Bristol-Myers Squibb Graduate Fellows in Synthetic Organic Chemistry. The fellowship recipients were chosen “based on the graduate students’ demonstrated academic and research achievements as well as their potential for significant future accomplishments,” according to the award announcement.

A native of Thessaloniki, Greece, Totokotsopoulos’s research focuses on development of improved methods in sulfenylation of 2,5-diketopiperazines and application to the total synthesis of natural and designed epidithio-, epitetrathio- and bis-methylthiodiketopiperazines. A number of these dithiodiketopiperazines show potent activities against viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells.

Scripps Florida Launches Industry Networking Group

The Industry Connections Network (ICN), a new Scripps Florida postdoctoral fellow/graduate student group that promotes ties between the academic research and industry communities, will present the second of a four-session workshop series, “Business Basics for the Life Sciences Industry,” Wednesday, July 25, from 3:30 to 5:30 PM in the Florida campus’s Room B158.

ICN has partnered with The Banner Center, a Palm Beach State College-affiliated consortium of industry, workforce, and educational partners, to present the workshop series. The sessions are all taught by leading life science industry experts, according to Cheryl Marra of the Kellogg School of Science and Technology and an ICN founder.

“Workshop topics address gaps in the life sciences workforce as identified by the Banner Center’s Industry Advisory Council,” said Marra, “and workshop content is written and vetted by industry experts.”

The July 25 workshop will cover biotech start-ups; such key corporate growth factors as patents, licensing, funding, venture capital, and business planning; PhD-level employment opportunities; and non-academic career options. Robert Nagro, a start-up company leader, investment banker, and business consultant, will lead the workshop.

The final two workshops in the Business Basics for the Life Sciences Industry series will explore such topics as current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and current Good Laboratory Practices (cGLP), 21 CFR Parts 210 &211, documentation, validation, and regulatory program development.

“The Industry Connections Network exists to inform postdoctoral fellows and graduate students of the opportunities available post-PhD in industry,” said Ryan Stowe, graduate student in the Roush lab and an ICN leader. In addition to current workshops, the group plans to present formal classes with industry leaders, informal mentoring sessions with local business owners, networking events, and an industry-specific Distinguished Lecture Series, he explained.

Rosie Albarran-Zeckler, research associate in the Smith lab and an ICN founder, added, “We are trying to bring to postdocs and grad students the skills that they will need in industry. There are jobs out there with pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and because we’ve been involved in research, we may not be prepared for non-academic careers where such skills as managerial and product systems are required. ICN is a great opportunity to learn and to bring outside resources to the Scripps Research community.”

For additional information on ICN programs and the Business Basics for the Life Sciences Industry workshops, contact Marra at or (561) 228-2024.


Help Scripps CA Save Energy and Money

Thanks to investments in energy-saving systems and programs, in particular the “Shut the Sash” campaign, the Scripps California campus has reduced its energy use in the first nine months of the current fiscal year by more than 1.3 million kwh and 174,100 therms over the same period last year. However, the summer months will provide an additional challenge.

As a participant in San Diego Gas & Electric’s Critical Peak Pricing (CPP) program, Scripps California enjoys significantly reduced electrical rates—except during CPP events when the institution’s rate jumps from 11 cents to $1.03 per kilowatt.

Should a CCP period be called in the coming months, Pete Herold, vice president of facilities, will alert faculty and staff to request extra diligence in reducing energy usage without impacting safety or science.

Due to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s offline status this summer, “rolling blackouts remain a possibility during extended heat waves, especially if a transmission line or power plant goes down unexpectedly,” said Herold. “The blackouts would affect all Scripps Research buildings, except Immunology, Molecular Biology, Beckman, Stein, and Molecular and Experimental Medicine, which share the same electrical circuits as Green Hospital. However, everyone’s help in reducing energy is appreciated.”

All Scripps Research laboratory buildings are equipped with emergency generators that provide electricity to critical loads during outages.

Herold’s energy-conservation tips include:

  • If you work at a fume hood, keep the sash height at 18 inches when working
  • Shut the sash when leaving the area, including time away for lunch breaks, meetings, and desk work
  • Turn off or unplug equipment when not in use
  • Turn off the lights when leaving a room
  • Bump thermostats up in the summer to reduce cooling costs
  • Combine items to run fuller loads in glass washers and autoclaves
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Make sure energy conservation features are enabled on computers, printers and copiers

“Savings from lower utility bills ultimately provides greater financial resources to support our scientists and their labs,” said Herold.

Research Symposium Abstract Deadline August 8

The deadline for online submission of abstracts for the Scripps California Research Symposium, open to postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, is Wednesday, August 8. The annual symposium, presented by the Society of Fellows (SOF) and the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office, will be held Wednesday, September 19, in conjunction with National Postdoc Appreciation Week.

Spotlighting the “most exciting research projects in the institution,” according to organizers, the symposium will feature oral and poster sessions, determined by a judging panel of faculty, who will consider the abstract’s scientific merit and quality of presentation.

Three symposium talks will be presented in each of four subject categories:

  • Chemistry and structural biology
  • Molecular and cell biology
  • Immunology and microbial science
  • Experimental medicine, neurosciences and translational research.

Abstracts not selected for talks can be presented as posters. Cash prizes of up to $300 will be offered for talks and posters in each category. The top oral presentation of the symposium also will be honored with the Jared Purton Memorial Award.

Abstract submission instructions are available on the SOF website. Contact Ryan Wheeler, manager of the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office, for additional symposium information. For details on other SOF activities, visit the group’s website.

English as-a-Second-Language Class Begins

A new English-as-a-second-language class series begins Tuesday, July 24. Available to Scripps faculty, graduate students, and staff, the three-month, 12-session series meets weekly, 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Tuesdays, in the Immunology Building West Conference Room.

Each intermediate-level English class includes activities covering speaking and listening, idioms and vocabulary, and reading and writing. Instructor Cassandra Wadkins employs fun and engaging instruction techniques, using movies, games, television shows, grammar books, songs, drawing, and novels to teach standard American English.

The series cost is $60. For more information, leave a message at x4-2176.

CA Onsite Immunization Clinics July 23 and 25

The next California campus onsite immunization clinics will be held Monday, July 23, and Wednesday, July 25, from 9:30 to 11:30 AM in Room 325 of the 3366 Building.

Conducted by Sharp Rees-Stealy staff, the clinics provide hepatitis B vaccination free of charge to all Scripps Research employees. Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Occupational Medicine must pre-authorize all other procedures based on the employee's working conditions. These procedures include:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) vaccines
  • A new one-visit Quantiferon tuberculosis test (for information on this test, read the Centers for Disease Control TB Fact Sheet)
  • Other tests, including titers, immunizations, and procedures according to the Scripps Research employee job function

Individuals who cannot attend the onsite clinic may visit the Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Center in Sorrento Mesa after EH&S pre-authorization. In addition, appointments can be scheduled at the Sharp Rees-Stealy Occupational Medicine Office by calling 858-526-6150.

For further details, contact Sunny Gold Schmidt, x4-9299 or

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