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In Memoriam: Curtis Wilson Jr. (1936-2013)




Peter K. Vogt Elected to AACR Academy’s Inaugural Class of Fellows

Peter K. Vogt, executive vice president and chief scientific officer at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), is among 106 North American and international inductees to the inaugural class of fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy. 

Selected through a rigorous peer-review process, fellows are recognized for their stellar scientific achievements in cancer research, according to Margaret Foti, AARC chief executive officer. The 2013 class of fellows represent scientists from universities, research institutions and life science companies throughout the world. 

Vogt’s research has included pioneering work on retroviral oncogenes, genes responsible for the tumor-inducing activity of a virus. His lab currently is investigating the basic genetic and molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis to identify chemical inhibitor compounds and novel biological molecules that can lead to targeted cancer therapies.

Rick Sando Receives NIH Fellowship

Rick Sando, fourth-year graduate student in the Maximov lab, has received a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant program provides support for promising doctoral candidates performing dissertation research and training in scientific health-related fields relevant to participating NIH institute missions.

A Levittown, Pennsylvania, native and graduate of Rider University, Sando researches the cellular and molecular mechanisms of experience-dependent plasticity in the mammalian brain. Deficits in neuronal plasticity underlie a multitude of cognitive disorders. His National Research Service Award project is titled “Transcriptional control of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity.”

Suzanne Peterson, Darryl D’Lima, Anjana Nityanandam, Victoria Bendersky Receive Honors in CIRM ‘Elevator Pitch’ Challenge

Four TSRI researchers were recognized in the recent California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Elevator Pitch Challenge for developing concise, informative and attention-grabbing descriptions of their CIRM-funded research to share with critical policy and support groups, the media and the general public. 

CIRM—a state agency funding stem-cell research at California institutions—staged the challenge to encourage scientists to develop a 30-second, compelling yet simple narrative illustrating the significance and relevance of their research. 

“It’s essential that stem cell scientists learn how to talk clearly and engagingly about their work. Without public support this kind of research is almost impossible to do,” said Alan Trounson, president of the stem cell agency. “While you can’t explain a lot in 30 seconds, if you are engaging and passionate enough about what you do, you can get someone’s attention and make them interested enough to want to know more.” 

Suzanne Peterson, staff scientist in the Loring lab, won second place in the Non-Lead Scientist category describing her work in Parkinson’s disease research. “It is pretty hard to summarize scientific projects in lay terms in 30 seconds, but I am glad that CIRM is trying to get scientists to do it,” said Peterson. 

Receiving notable mentions were:

Darryl D’Lima, associate professor of molecular and experimental medicine, for his “interesting, clear and short" message

Anjana Nityanandam, research associate in the Baldwin lab, for her “compelling description”

Victoria Bendersky, trainee in the Mueller lab, for a “disease description [that] draws the listener in” 

Judged on brevity (shorter videos got more points), clarity, creativity, and use of everyday English, the 57 entries are posted on the CIRM website

SOF Announces Travel Awards

The Scripps Research Society of Fellows (SOF) has announced the spring cycle Postdoctoral Travel Award winners for California postdocs. The winners, who each receive up to $1,000 to cover travel expenses to present their work at a national or international scientific conference, are:

Lynda Groocock, of the Boddy lab, presenting “DNA repair response at dysfunctional telomeres” at the Cold Spring Harbor Meeting – Telomeres and Telomerase, in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, in April

Jean-Philippe Julien, of the Wilson lab, presenting “Rational HIV immunogen design to target specific germline B cell receptors” at the American Crystallographic Association Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, in July

Yen-Ru Pan, of the Reed lab, who recently presented “Molecular Mechanisms of Cks-1-mediated transcription regulation” at the Keystone Symposium on Epigenetic Marks and Cancer Drugs in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Fionn Susannah O’Hara, of the Baran lab, presenting “A method to predict and control the regioselectivity of zinc bis-alkysulfinate-mediated functionalization of heterocycles” at the 43rd Annual National Organic Chemistry Symposium in Seattle, Washington, in June

The SOF will award up to eight SOF travel grants in 2013 in two evaluation cycles. The next application deadline is October 1. Postdocs who have never attended a scientific meeting to present their current work are encouraged to apply; additionally, previously unsuccessful applicants are urged to re-apply. Visit the SOF website for details.

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Peter K. Vogt, TSRI's executive vice president and chief scientific officer, joins the first class of American Association for Cancer Research fellows.