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Snapshot: Nick Burchfield



In Brief

High School Intern Eric Chen Selected as a Global Finalist in Google Science Fair

Eric Chen, a high school intern in Professor Ian Wilson’s lab at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), is one of 15 finalists in the 2013 Google Science Fair, which drew thousands of entries from 120 countries across the globe. Chen and the other finalists will present their projects to a panel of international scientists for a final round of judging at Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarters on September 23.

The 17-year-old Canyon Crest Academy senior’s project, “The Taming of the Flu,” combines computer modeling and biological studies to uncover novel influenza endonuclease inhibitors and speed up drug discovery for a new anti-flu medicine effective against all influenza viruses, including pandemic strains such as H5N1 and H7N9. Chen explains his project on the Google Science Fair website.

The Google Science Fair grand prize winner will receive a $50,000 scholarship and a National Geographic Expedition trip to the Galapagos Archipelago. The winner’s school receives a $10,000 grant.

TSRI to Celebrate National Postdoc Appreciation Week

Recognizing the contributions of postdoctoral fellows to research discoveries, TSRI will host a variety of events on both its Florida and California campuses during National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week, September 16 to 20. Coinciding with the festivities, the Society of Fellows (SOF) on the CA campus will celebrate its 50th anniversary.


Monday, September 16, 12:30 to 2 PM, Keck Auditorium
Speaker: Marc Kuchner, National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist, “Modern Marketing for Scientists”

Tuesday, September 17, 9 AM to noon, 3377 Building, third floor
Career and Postdoctoral Services Office: Open House & New Department Website Launch. Complimentary coffee and donuts, and free prize drawings will be offered.

Thursday, September 19, from 2 to 3 PM, Keck Auditorium
SOF Distinguished Lecturer Series speaker: Richmond Sarpong, associate professor of chemistry, University of California, Berkeley. Contact Adam Duerfeldt,, if you are interested in having lunch or dinner with Sarpong.

Friday, September 20, 6 PM, The Brigantine Restaurant, Del Mar
SOF 50th Anniversary Cocktail Reception with guest speakers TSRI Professor Michael Oldstone (SOF president 1967-1968) and Phyllis Frosst, senior advisor for policy, communications and strategic alliances, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (SOF president 2002-2003). RSVP is required.


Monday, September 16, from 3:30 to 5 PM, classroom B158
Speaker: Marc Kuchner, National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist, “Modern Marketing for Scientists.” Live video stream from CA campus.

Tuesday, September 17, 10 AM to 2:30 PM, room B387
Free Seated Chair Massage. Contact Cheryl Marra,, to schedule a 15-minute massage.

Wednesday, September 18, from 9 to 11 AM, board room B252
Career and Postdoctoral Services Office Open House & New Department Website Launch Complimentary coffee and donuts, and free prize drawings will be offered.

Thursday, September 19, 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM, classroom B158
Insights to Industry Workshop: Making an effective transition from academia to industry with Randall Ribaudo, CEO SciPhD. Registration required.

Friday, September 20, 5:30 to 8:30 PM, Das Biergarten, Jupiter
Postdoc Appreciation Week Finale Happy Hour

Meet the Alumni: Ron Lewis, Law Firm Science Advisor

Ron Lewis, scientific advisor at the legal firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati and former postdoctoral fellow in the Barbas lab at TRSI, is the featured speaker at the next Meet the Alumni presentation on Thursday, September 12, 4 to 5 PM in the Faculty Club Library on the California campus.

Lewis received his doctorate in organic chemistry from Wesleyan University. His background includes positions as a medicinal chemist in the biopharmaceutical and contract manufacturing industries, working on interdisciplinary programs targeting cardiovascular disease, breast and prostate cancers, and obesity. In his current position, he works with technology, life sciences and other growth enterprises. In addition, Lewis serves on the National Organization for the Profession Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers executive board and as president of the group’s San Diego chapter.

Sponsored by the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office and the Network for Women in Science, the Meet the Alumni series features a discussion format in a casual setting; topics include career influences, transitions and options. Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required.

FL Campus Career Workshops: Academic Careers, Financial Planning

Two professional development opportunities sponsored by the Career and Postdoctoral Services Office will be offered to Florida postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.

Academic Careers Roundtable

TSRI Professor John Cleveland, chair of the Department of Cancer Biology, will discuss “What Makes a Good Mentor” at the next roundtable event, scheduled for Monday, September 16, noon to 1 PM in Building B Board Room, B252. The bimonthly roundtables feature informal conversations between guest faculty and students and postdocs. Lunch is provided; registration is required.

Smart Money Moves in Your 20s and 30s

An early-career financial planning workshop will be presented by Philip Doherty, senior financial services executive with MetLife on Tuesday, September 17, from 1:30 to 3 PM in classroom B158. The session will cover 10 important ways to prepare for financial success, including creating a budget, establishing an emergency fund and optimizing retirement savings. Registration is required.

CA NWiS Offers 'Scripps 101' for Postdocs and Graduate Students

Newly arrived postdoctoral fellows and graduate students will find practical tips and suggestions for navigating research and home life on the California campus at the Network for Women in Science (NWiS) “Scripps 101” Coffee Hour, Monday, September 9, 3 PM in the Faculty Club Tennis Room.

The informal gathering will provide guidance on lab and mentor selection and career development resources as well as recommendations for local eateries, shops, etc. NWiS members and veteran graduate students and postdocs will be available to answer questions and offer tips on adjusting to the United States. For more information on this event and other NWiS activities, visit the organization’s webpage or Facebook site.

FL SRF Celebrates Cultures and Nations

With cuisine and costumes from 24 countries around the world, the Society of Research Fellows (SRF) recently celebrated its first International Party.

Some 90 postdoctoral fellows, their partners and children—many dressed in their native costumes—gathered in the campus cafeteria for music, games, entertainment and food from North America, South America, the Caribbean, Northern and Southern Europe, India and East Asia.

Appearing in traditional Mongolian dress, Zhuang Jin, a native of inner-Mongolia in China and research associate in Translational Research Institute (TRI), Medicinal Chemistry, won the prize for best costume. Other activities included an international-themed Trivia quiz, organized by Research Associates Will Nguyen of Tri Medicinal Chemistry, Cullen Schmid of the Bohn lab and Kim Bruce of the Ja lab. The evening concluded with instruction in Scottish folk dance and demonstrations of Indian Bollywood, Greek and Armenian dance.

Alice Asteian and Celine Ullrich, SRF committee social chairs, organized the event. Party photos can be seen on the SRF Facebook page.

CA English-as-a-Second-Language Classes Begin September 10

A new series of English-as-a-second-language classes will begin on the California campus Tuesday, September 10. The classes, taught by instructor Cassandra Wadkins, will meet from 6:30 to 8:30 PM every Tuesday in the Immunology Building West Conference Room. The 12-session series fee is $60.

Each intermediate-level English class is divided into speaking and listening, idioms and vocabulary, and reading and writing. The goal is improving participants’ English communication skills and understanding of U.S. culture. Wadkins uses movies, games, television shows, grammar books, songs, drawing and novels to teach standard American English. For more information, leave a message at x4-2176.

CA Onsite Clinics Scheduled for September 23 and 25

The next California campus onsite immunization clinics are scheduled for Monday, September 23 and Wednesday, September 25, from 9:30 to 11:30 AM in Building 3366, room 240. Conducted by Sharp Rees-Stealy staff, the clinics provide hepatitis B vaccination free of charge to all TSRI employees. Appointments are not needed.

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Occupational Medicine must pre-authorize all other procedures based on the employee's working conditions. These procedures include tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines; and other titers, immunizations and procedures.

TSRI no longer requires TB testing for TSRI faculty and staff whose work includes exposure to animals. TSRI will, however, continue to provide TB testing for employees who, in the scope of their TSRI positions, meet one or more of three criteria:

  • Provide human health care, such as registered nurses
  • Work with human subjects
  • Work with nonhuman primates

Employees with questions regarding the new policy may contact EH&S Director Carolyn Keierleber at or x4-8240. Employees authorized for the one-visit Quantiferon tuberculosis test may find further information at the Centers for Disease Control TB Fact Sheet.

After EH&S pre-authorization, individuals who cannot attend the onsite clinic may visit the Sharp Rees-Stealy occupational medicine clinic by calling (858) 526-6150. The clinic is located at 10243 Genetic Center Drive, off Mira Mesa Boulevard. For further details, contact Rachel Longville, or x4-8457.

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Attending the recent SRF International Party were, left to right, Research Associates Venkat Dharmarajanof the Griffin lab and Sonali Deshpande of the Ja lab, and Research Technician Dana Kuruvilla of the Griffin lab.