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In Brief

Moody's Affirms Institute's Aa3 Credit Rating

Moody's Investors Service has affirmed The Scripps Research Institute's Aa3 long-term credit rating. The rating applies to the institute’s Series 2000, Series 2005A and taxable Series 2005B bonds issued through the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank.

Moody’s noted that the rating incorporates a variety of factors, including the institute’s “position as a leading national biomedical research organization,” financial reserves, essentially balanced annual operating performance, and new leadership. The rating also takes into account pressures related to national trends of declines in federal grant funding, the conclusion of a long-term general funding strategy involving a single pharmaceutical partner, and the institute’s lease and pension obligations.

According to the rating agency, “The rating outlook is stable, reflecting no borrowing plans and slowly growing financial resources, with expectations of generally balanced operating performance as Scripps Florida is brought fully online against successful cost management efforts of Scripps La Jolla, bringing in good operating cash flow and debt service coverage.”

Felding-Habermann Awarded New NIH ‘Provocative Question’ Grant

Scripps Research Institute Associate Professor Brunhilde Felding-Habermann has received one of only 57 grants awarded nationwide in the “Provocative Questions” initiative, a new funding mechanism launched by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (NCI).

According to the NCI, the initiative—which drew more than 700 project applications—represents a new and different way to identify and address research needs in cancer by challenging researchers to delve into key areas that require more in depth study, focusing on major unsolved or neglected problems in oncology. 

Felding-Habermann’s project—“Normalizing Breast Cancer Metabolism to Prevent Progression and Recurrence”—will investigate one of 24 NCI initiative questions: “Given the appearance of resistance in response to cell killing therapies, can we extend survival by using approaches that keep tumors static?”

The Provocative Questions approach, said the NCI, “ helps to define the boundaries between the known and unknown; it takes advantage of new developments to refocus a discipline’s attention on historically intractable problems; and it highlights perplexing issues that may be raised by new evidence about traditional topics.”

Bruce Maryanoff Wins E.B. Hershberg Award

Bruce E. Maryanoff, visiting investigator in the Ghadiri lab, has won the 2013 E. B. Hershberg Award, a national recognition presented by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Sponsored by Merck Research Laboratories, the award recognizes important discoveries in the chemistry of medicinally active substances.

The award was established in 1988 to honor the contributions of Emanuel B. Hershberg to the pharmaceutical industry, especially the application of organic chemistry for the discovery and development of novel drugs.

Maryanoff will be honored at an April 9 awards ceremony, in conjunction with the 245th ACS National Meeting in New Orleans.

Scripps Florida to Co-Host Regional Networking Event

Scripps Florida will co-host an academic-industry networking event—“Connecting Emerging Leaders in the Life Sciences” (CELLS)—for the South Florida life sciences community on Thursday, September 20, from 5:30 to 8:30 PM in the Scripps Café. The event is also presented by BioFlorida, Life Science Technology HUB, the Employ Florida Banner Center, and Workforce Alliance. Other local institutions, including the Max Planck Florida Institute, Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, Florida Atlantic University, and Palm Beach State College, have also been involved in the event’s planning and outreach.

Held in recognition of National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week, CELLS will bring together industry, biotech, and academic institutions from the South Florida region to highlight postdoctoral and graduate student talent and unite the emerging life science community, said Mike Matrone, program coordinator in the Scripps Research Career and Postdoctoral Services Office. Another important goal of the event is “to build and retain bioscience talent in Florida,” he added.

The CELLS event will feature an introduction by Scripps Florida’s Senior Director of Scientific Support Operations Dawn Johnson, one-minute speed introductions to bioscience businesses in the region, one-on-one interactions with business representatives at company booths, and opportunities to connect with potential employers in a social setting. Appetizers and drinks will be served.

Attendance is free with advance registration by Friday, September 14. Admittance at the door will be $15, cash only.

For additional details, contact Matrone at or Cheryl Marra at

SOF Fall Research Symposium Slated for September 19

The Scripps California 2012 Fall Research Symposium is scheduled for Wednesday, September 19, in the Beckman Building’s Keck Amphitheater. Co-hosted by the Society of Fellows (SOF) and the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office, the annual symposium aims to encourage presentation and discussion of research emphasizing the most exciting research projects in the Scripps Research community.

Keynote speaker John Cambier, the Ida and Cecil Green Distinguished Professor and chairman of the Integrated Department of Immunology at the University of Colorado, Denver, will present “Management and Mismanagement of Autoreactive B cells; from Mouse to Man” from 10 to 11 AM.

Keynote speaker Chris Vanderwal, associate professor of organic chemistry at University of California, Irvine, Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow, and 2003 alumnus of the Scripps Research graduate program, will address “Synthesis of Terpene and Alkaloid Natural Products,” from 2 to 3:15 PM.

Postdoctoral talks are scheduled from 11:15 AM to 12:45 PM and 3:30 to 5:15 PM in the Keck Amphitheater. A moderated poster session and lunch reception will be held in the Beckman Galleria from 12:45 to 2 PM.

The Outstanding Mentor Award will be presented at 2 PM, honoring a faculty member who has guided and contributed to the personal or professional development of postdoctoral fellows and graduate students through a mutually trusting and respectful relationship, according to the SOF.

Closing the day, a networking reception will be held from 5 to 6 PM in the Beckman Galleria.

Additional Fall Research Symposium information is available at the SOF webpage. Further information on other SOF activities can be found on the group’s website .

Postdoctoral Travel Award Applications Due October 1

Applications for the next round of postdoctoral travel awards presented by the California campus Society of Fellows (SOF) and the Florida campus Society of Research Fellows (SRF) are due Monday, October 1.

Postdoctoral fellows may apply for one of three SOF grants of up to $1,000 each. The grants cover conference-related costs, including travel, housing, and conference registration. A selection committee of five postdoctoral fellows will review the applications.

The SOF awards are intended to provide postdocs opportunities to present scholarly activities at scientific national or international conferences, according to the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office, which administers the program.

Eligibility, specific application procedures, and proposal guidelines can be found on the Career and Postdoctoral Services webpage. Applications must be submitted to the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office (mail code TPC-19). Non-applicant postdoctoral fellows willing to serve on the selection committee are asked to contact Mike Matrone at

The Mark A. Hall Memorial Travel Award aims to support postdoctoral fellows pursuing advanced training by offering the opportunity to participate in a premier scientific meeting, according to SRF President Sandro Matosevic.

Named in honor of the late Mark Hall, a Scripps Research postdoctoral fellow in cancer biology, one grant of up to $1,000 is presented twice per year to a full-time research associate preparing an oral or poster presentation at a scientific meeting. In the case of co-authored papers, both authors are eligible. Applications are reviewed by a committee made up of two faculty members and two postdoctoral fellows.

Additional eligibility requirements, application instructions, and proposal guidelines are available on the SRF webpage. Completed applications are submitted to Matosevic via campus mail (mail code 1B2). Questions may be addressed to Matosevic at

ScrippsAssists to Help Mother Nature Tidy Up

ScrippsAssists invites California campus faculty, staff, and their families to help tidy up San Diego’s environment at the 28th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day event, scheduled for Saturday, September 15, from 9 AM to noon.

Sponsored by the I Love a Clean San Diego (ILACSD), the event focuses on the 80 percent of marine debris that originates from inland sources, such as storm drains in urban areas, creeks, and rivers.

The ScrippsAssists cleanup crew has been assigned to work at the Rancho Bernardo Community Park – Lake Hodges location—one of 80 Cleanup Day sites throughout the county. Volunteers are asked to reduce waste by bringing their own reusable cleanup supplies, such as reusable water bottles, gardening gloves, and trash collection buckets. Recommended wear for volunteers includes closed-toe shoes and long pants.

Contact Mishelle McClanahan-Shinn for signups and additional information. 

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