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Donna Blackmond and Gerald Joyce Named Simons Investigators

Professors Donna Blackmond and Gerald Joyce of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been named Simons Investigators for the Collaboration on the Origins of Life, sponsored by the Simons Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit organization established in 1994 to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and basic sciences.

The 15-member international collaboration aims to support creative, innovative research in 10 topic areas concerning the processes that led to the emergence of life, including the development of prebiotic chemistry and RNA replication. Blackmond and Joyce each will receive $2 million of research funding from the Simons Foundation over the next five years.

Blackmond’s project focuses on chirality and the likely prebiotic conditions that may have led to single chirality as a precursor to enhanced molecular complexity.

Joyce’s project involves experimental studies that seek to determine the minimum amount of information required to provide replicating, evolving systems that have the ongoing capacity to accrue more information.

Jerold Chun’s New Book Offers Resource in Growing Scientific Field

A new book edited by Jerold Chun, professor in the Dorris Neuroscience Center at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), and his colleagues offers a new, comprehensive resource for the growing field of lysophospholipid receptors.

Extensively indexed, the 800-page Lysophospholipid Receptors, Signaling and Biochemistry features 34 chapters contributed by 107 authors from throughout the world. The book’s co-editors are Timothy Hla of the Weill Cornell Medical College, Wouter Moolenaar of The Netherlands Cancer Institute and Sarah Spiegel of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. The book is available through Wiley Publishing and

“In recent years, this field has yielded new biological and medical insights on many organ systems and has given rise to the first oral drug for multiple sclerosis, Gilenya,” said Chun. “We hope the book increases interest in and accessibility to this fascinating field, which continues to expand through new receptors, physiological functions, disease mechanisms and therapeutics.”

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TSRI Hosts Visit from Majority Leader Eric Cantor

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA, right) met recently with TSRI President Michael Marletta on the Scripps California campus. The meeting was followed by a roundtable discussion, sponsored by the California Healthcare Institute, during which local biotech and TSRI executives offered Cantor perspectives on federal programs, funding and proposals to spur innovation.

chun book
Professor Jerold Chun’s new book offers a new, comprehensive resource on lysophospholipid receptors, an expanding field that has given rise to the first oral drug for multiple sclerosis. (Image reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)