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Matthew Disney and Kate Carroll Win 2013 ACS Awards

Two chemists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been selected by the American Chemical Society (ACS) to receive a pair of prestigious awards. Associate Professor Matthew Disney has won the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry. Associate Professor Kate Carroll has received the 2013 Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry. The ACS awards honor scientists who have performed distinguished research while still in the early stages of their careers.

The 78-year old Eli Lilly award recognizes “outstanding research in biological chemistry of unusual merit and independence of thought and originality,” according to the ACS. Disney is recognized for his work in designing lead therapeutics to target the products of disease-associated genes from only sequence. In initial applications of this approach, Disney and his colleagues have developed compounds to specifically target a variety of genetic abnormalities that cause disease, including myotonic dystrophy, Huntington’s disease and cancer. Previous winners of the Eli Lilly Award include TSRI faculty members Nobel laureate Gerald Edelman, Peter G. Schultz and Benjamin Cravatt.

The Pfizer award, first presented in 1945, spotlights “outstanding work in enzyme chemistry where the presence of enzyme action is unequivocally demonstrated.” The award recognizes Carroll’s pioneering research using the tools of chemistry and biology to elucidate cysteine oxidation as a new paradigm in signal transduction and the regulation of protein function. Most recently, Carroll has discovered that the signaling molecule, hydrogen peroxide, oxidizes a specific cysteine residue in the active site of the epidermal growth factor receptor. This modification works like a switch, activating EGFR and other kinases that drive cell growth and proliferation. Her team is currently leveraging these discoveries to develop new strategies for the treatment of diseases, including cancer and diabetes, which are known to have a strong oxidative stress component. Previous Pfizer Award winners include TSRI’s Frank Huennekens, Paul Schimmel and Gerald Joyce.

Disney and Carroll will present symposium lectures at the Fall 2013 ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis. See the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry Recipients webpage for further details on the Disney and Carroll awards.

TSRI Researchers Partner with Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation

Scientists at TSRI and the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation have formed a partnership to lay the groundwork for lifesaving advancements in personalized breast cancer treatment and care. The genomic sequencing project will compare the genes of a woman’s healthy cells with her breast tumor cells to better understand the changes that cause breast cancer to develop and progress.

Specifically, Edith Sanford will provide tissue samples from 25 women with breast cancer to TSRI for analysis to identify the changes in genes and proteins that are linked to the cancer, and Edith Sanford will then validate findings through clinical testing.

Members of the research team at TSRI include Brandon Young and the Genomics Core at Scripps Florida and Scripps California colleagues Nicholas Schork, Ali Torkamani and Andrew Su.

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Associate Professor Matthew Disney has won the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry. (Photo by James McEntee.)

Associate Professor Kate Carroll has received the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry. (Photo by James McEntee.)