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Valery Fokin Wins Russian ‘Mega-Grant’ Award

Valery Fokin, professor in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has been awarded a prestigious grant from the Russian government for $3.75 million over three years, with the possibility of a two-year renewal. The grant will fund the establishment of a laboratory at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).

This highly competitive program—called "mega-grants" in Russia—is aimed at recruiting the expertise of leading scientists in a variety of fields, ranging from history and archeology to industrial biotechnology, to reinvigorate Russian science. Among the 42 winners are researchers from countries including USA, Russia, Germany, Japan, France, Spain, Israel, Australia and Israel.

"Doing research on two continents is a challenging but rewarding endeavor," says Fokin. "With the support of this grant and administrations of both institutes, I am hoping that our work will benefit from synergies and will result in mutually beneficial collaborations between Scripps and Russian scientists and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, leading to new technologies and products in both nations."

Fokin will assemble a team of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff scientists to work at the newly established laboratory on the development of new chemical transformations and their use in studies of biomarkers for the diagnosis and treatment of inflammation, cancer and immune diseases.

For more information about MIPT, see For more information about Fokin and his research, see his faculty web page and laboratory website.

Ryan Shenvi Selected as Baxter Young Investigator

Ryan Shenvi, assistant professor in the TSRI Department of Chemistry, has received the 2013 Baxter Young Investigator Award, presented by the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation, a Carlsbad, California-based nonprofit organization supporting medical research and higher education programs.

The $100,000 Baxter Young Investigator award is designed to help prepare and support early-career scientists, providing seed funds to develop preliminary data and advance a research program toward eventual eligible competition for federal or other external funding.

Research in the Shenvi lab focuses on complex molecule synthesis, exploration of chemical reactivity and expansion of the tools available to synthetic chemists.

In addition to Shenvi’s award, the Baxter Foundation also has provided TSRI a grant to support two-first year graduate students. A TSRI supporter for 17 years, the Foundation has contributed $1.75 million in total to the institute.

Christoph Rader Receives Lymphoma Research Grant

Christoph Rader, an associate professor on TSRI’s Florida campus, has been selected to receive a two-year, $250,000 grant from the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF).

The Mantle Cell Lymphoma Exploration/Development Grant will support a study, set to begin in September, to create a potential therapy to target malignant cells while bypassing normal cells as much as possible in people with mantle cell lymphoma, a rare and difficult-to-treat form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The award is one of seven recently made by the LRF, based on recommendations by its Scientific Advisory Board and approved by its Board of Directors.

Stephen Connelly Awarded MBA Fellowship

Stephen Connelly, staff scientist in the Wilson/Kelly labs, has received a Foster Fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in business administration at the Rady School of Management, the University of California, San Diego.

The endowed Foster Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers, funded by San Diego businesswoman and philanthropist Pauline Foster, supports “emerging leaders in innovation-driven industry sectors and for students demonstrating high potential to transform organizations and industries,” according to the Rady School. Accepted into school’s FlexWeekend MBA program, Connelly will begin classes this fall and expects to graduate in 2015.

CA Campus Wins Third Bike-to-Work Challenge

Nearly 60 TSRI cyclists secured the California campus’s third consecutive win in the annual Bike-to-Work Corporate Challenge, organized by iCommute, a program of the San Diego Association of Governments.

Logging more than 740 bike trips during the month of May, the TSRI team placed first in the Macro Category of companies with 2,001 to 5,000 employees. Leading TSRI cyclists were Alberto Oppedisano, graduate student in the Shenvi lab, and Kazuto Ohashi, research associate in the Otomo lab, with 53 and 52 logged bike trips, respectively, during May.

 Kim Akalski, Human Resources assistant and the team’s administrator, reported that during the May challenge, TSRI participants:

  • Saved nearly 200 gallons of gasoline
  • Traveled more than 4,900 bicycle miles
  • Saved 4,417 pounds of carbon dioxide
  • Burned more than 150,000 calories

In addition, several TSRI cyclists won prizes during the Bike to Work month, including tickets to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, monthly bus passes and bike shop gift cards.

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Professor Valery Fokin has won a $3.75 million grant from the Russian government. (Photo by Cindy Brauer.)








Assistant Professor Ryan Shenvi has received the 2013 Baxter Young Investigator Award. (Photo by BioMedical Graphics.) 
















Members of the California campus cyclists who helped TSRI capture a third consecutive win in iCommute’s annual Bike-to-Work Corporate Challenge during May gather to celebrate their accomplishment; from left to right are Markus Roggen, Mike Matrone, Julio Giannotti, Tom Belich, Kathy Spencer and Scott Curriden.