Study Suggests Binge Drinking Could Cause Significant Brain Impairment Within Months
Scientist Awarded $1.6 Million to Develop Innovative Chemical Reactions as Tools for Preparing Rare Natural Products
Reception Honors Audrey Geisel and Dr. Seuss Foundation for Donation to Upgrade Auditorium



In Brief

Julius Rebek Awarded Prelog Medal

Scripps Research Institute Professor Julius Rebek has been awarded the Prelog Medal, presented by the Laboratory of Organic Chemistry (LOC) with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. 

Rebek, director of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), is being recognized for his fundamental discoveries in stereochemistry, according to the award announcement. He will present the Prelog Medal Lecture, “Molecular Behavior in Small Spaces,” at an awards ceremony on Monday, November 5, at the LOC in Zurich. 

Awarded annually since 1986, the Prelog Medal is named after Vladimir Prelog, a Swiss chemist of Croatian origin who—with John W. Cornforth—received the 1975 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions.

Antonio Amelio Receives Pathway to Independence Award in Cancer Research

The career of Antonio (Tony) Amelio, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cancer Biology at TSRI, has gotten a boost from the National Institutes of Health in the form of a Howard Temin Pathway to Independence Award in Cancer Research. The multiyear award from the National Cancer Institute—worth around $1 million over five years—is designed to accelerate the progress of promising junior scientists to scientific independence.

The Pathway to Independence Award is split into two phases. The initial phase provides one to two years of mentored support for postdoctoral fellows; the next phase is three years of independent support contingent on securing an independent tenure-track or equivalent research position. The National Institutes of Health issues only between 150 and 200 of these awards per year, making them highly competitive and relatively rare.

Amelio, who completed his graduate work at the University of Florida College of Medicine and has been mentored in the Scripps Florida laboratories of Assistant Professor Michael Conkright and Department of Cancer Biology Chair John Cleveland, is, understandably, excited. He’s grateful, too, that during an interruption in the grant review process due to gridlock over the federal budget, the Scripps Florida Department of Philanthropy and the local PGA National Women’s Cancer Awareness Day in nearby Palm Beach Gardens stepped in to support him.

Amelio’s research has been focused on the cell signaling proteins CREB and the CRTC coactivators. His current work bridges these studies and investigations in the Cleveland lab on a cancer-causing gene known as MYC (activated in up to 70 percent of all cancers) in human B cell lymphoma and leukemia to create his own independent research program. He hopes to decipher the role of the CREB and the CRTCs (which regulate key aspects of cell survival) in cooperating with the pathway of MYC to drive the creation and progression of tumors.

FL Research Fest Set for October 25

The Scripps Florida Research Fest 2012: Scientific Symposium & Vendor Show, which is scheduled for Thursday, October 25, from 10 AM to 4 PM, will offer more than 45 scientific presentations plus a variety of vendor exhibits. 

 Sponsored by the Society of Research Fellows (SRF), the symposium’s oral presentations will be given by four postdoctoral fellows—Silvia Licciulli (Kissel lab), Argel Agulilar-Valles (Miller lab), Subhashis Banerjee (Burris lab) and Erica Young (Miller lab)—and one graduate student, David Marciano (Griffin lab).

In addition, vendors will showcase new scientific products and services at individual table booths. New this year is a slate of selected vendor presentations scheduled during the afternoon poster competition. 

Open to the local life-sciences community, the symposium—now in its third year—draws attendance beyond TSRI, from industry and other research institutions, including the Max Planck Florida Institute, Florida Atlantic University and Palm Beach State College

Attendees may enter a raffle prize drawing by visiting vendor exhibits and turning in a completed questionnaire booklet. Prizes will include gift cards and donations from local businesses.

For further detail on Research Fest 2012 and other SRF activities, visit the group’s website.

CA Distinguished Lecture Series to Feature Bruce Beutler

The Society of Fellows (SOF) will host 2011 Nobel Laureate Bruce Beutler at its Distinguished Lecture Series event scheduled for Wednesday, November 7, 4 PM, in The Auditorium at TSRI.

A former professor at TSRI, Beutler is now director of the Center for Genetics of Host Defense at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. His lecture is titled “Genetic Analysis of Immunity in Mice.”

The lecture is open to TSRI employees. In addition, postdoctoral fellows are offered a limited number of opportunities to meet with Beutler, according to SOF President Jack Scatizzi.

 For additional details on SOF activities and resources, visit the SOF webpage or the group’s Facebook page.

FL Distinguished Lecture Series to Feature Mauro Cost-Mattioli

The Scripps Florida Society of Research Fellows (SRF) Distinguished Lecture Series will feature Mauro Costa-Mattioli, assistant professor in neuroscience at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, on Tuesday, November 6, from 10 to 11 AM in Room B158.

 Costa-Mattioli will speak on “Unlocking the Gate of Memory:  Molecular & Cellular Mechanism.” Using multidisciplinary approaches, Costa-Mattioli’s research team studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying long-term synaptic plasticity, learning and memory, and related neurological disorders.

 Further information about SRF activities and resources is available on the SRF webpage.

Career Workshop: Using Social Networks to Market Your Career

How to market a career in science using social media tools is the topic of a Career Workshop scheduled for Tuesday, October 23, 10 AM, on the California campus and sponsored by the Network for Women in Science and the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office. 

Presented in the Molecular Biology Building’s Committee Lecture Hall, the seminar will be conducted by Mary Canady, founder of the San Diego Biotechnology Network, a local life-sciences industry group promoting face-to-face and social media networking. Her seminar presentation will explore LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as networking tools.

 Canady, who holds a PhD in biochemistry and is a former TSRI postdoctoral fellow, also founded Comprendia, a marketing and business development firm for biotech and life sciences companies. 

 For additional information on NWiS activities, visit the group’s website or Facebook page. Details on other Career and Postdoctoral Services resources and events are available on the department’s webpage.

Open Enrollment Begins Monday, October 22

Open Enrollment begins Monday, October 22 and runs through Friday, November 2, at 5 PM Pacific time. During this annual opportunity, participants may make changes to their TSRI benefit selections and, if eligible, enroll (or re-enroll) in the Health Care and/or Dependent Care Spending Accounts for the 2013 plan year. New plan information was e-mailed to participants’ TSRI email addresses and should have been received by October 5. 

Some things to keep in mind during Open Enrollment:

To effectively manage rising healthcare costs in the current funding environment, TSRI has chosen to implement a few changes to the health plan designs this year, which include:

  • HMO Plan participants will experience increased copays for office visits and prescriptions
  • PPO Plan participants will experience an increase in prescription copays, along with increased coinsurance and deductible responsibility
  • Preventive care will be covered at 100 percent on the HMO Plan and when using in-network providers on the PPO Plan. Essentially, there will be no copay, coinsurance or deductibles charged when obtaining preventive care
  • Under new federal regulations, the maximum dollar amount for the Health Care Spending Account is limited to $2,500

 Please note: participants in the Healthcare or Dependent Care Spending Accounts in 2012 still must log on and elect a new deferral amount to participate in 2013. A 2012 election WILL NOT roll over to 2013. 

Participants with questions regarding Open Enrollment should contact Human Resources at the Benefits line, 858-784-8487 or

For a schedule of other Open Enrollment events, go to for the California campus, and for the Florida campus.

To login to the Open Enrollment system, go to

CA Campus Benefits Fair Wednesday, October 24

The Scripps California Benefits Fair will be held on Wednesday, October 24, 10 AM to 1 PM, in the Immunology Building galleria. The event, hosted by the Human Resources department will feature TSRI benefit vendors, including medical, dental, vision and life insurance providers, financial and pension plan companies and other providers such as Sandag iCommute and CVS Caremark for prescription plans. Additionally, campus organizations and service representatives will be present. 

 “Coordinated with the Open Enrollment period, the Benefits Fair is an excellent opportunity for the TSRI community to meet vendors and ask questions,” said Paige Gearhart, benefits manager. “There will be a raffle, and each vendor will have a little giveaway; it’s a chance to stretch your legs, meet company and service reps, and grab a few goodies.”

New English-as-a-Second-Language Series to Begin

A new English-as-a-second-language class series will begin Tuesday, October 23. The class meets from 6:30 to 8:30 PM every Tuesday in the Immunology Building West Conference Room. The price for three months (12 classes) is $60. Each intermediate-level English class is divided into speaking and listening, idioms and vocabulary, and reading and writing. Instructor Cassandra Wadkins uses movies, games, television shows, grammar books, songs, drawing and novels to teach standard American English. Have fun and learn English at the same time! For more information, leave a message at x4-2176.

Send comments to: mikaono[at]

Professor Julius Rebek is being recognized for his fundamental discoveries in stereochemistry. (Photo by Micheal Balderas.)



Postdoctoral Fellow Antonio Amelio has won a Howard Temin Pathway to Independence Award in Cancer Research, designed to accelerate the progress of promising junior scientists to scientific independence. (Photo by Barbara S. Noble.)