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Of Note

Charles Weissmann Wins Ernst Jung Gold Medal for Medicine

Charles Weissmann, professor emeritus on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has been awarded the 2014 Ernst Jung Gold Medal for Medicine, presented by the German Jung Foundation for Science and Research.

Weissmann received the international award for “his trailblazing scientific life work,” according to the foundation announcement. A pioneer in modern biomedical research and molecular biology, Weissmann has contributed to the first cloning of alpha-interferon genes, the elucidation of the life cycle of bacteriophages, the development of site-directed mutagenesis, the regulation of red blood cell components and the understanding of protein infectious agents, including those that cause prion diseases such as Creutzfeld-Jacob disease, a rare, most-often fatal, brain disorder.

The Jung Foundation for Science and Research promotes basic and advanced research in human medicine and supports top researchers and their projects. Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, the foundation was established in 1967 by Ernst Jung, a merchant interested in the progress of medicine and biomedical research for the benefit of patients.

Weissmann, who was also honored by the Jung Foundation in 1988, will be presented the foundation’s gold medal at a special ceremony on May 16 in Hamburg. As part of the award, he will also choose an aspiring scientist to receive a scholarship of 30,000 Euros.

TSRI Chemists’ Work Selected Among Most Significant in 2013

Papers by two TSRI chemists, Professor Phil Baran and Assistant Professor Ryan Shenvi, were featured among the top nine science stories of 2013 in the Chemistry and Engineering News cover story, “Chemistry Year in Review.” The list highlighted “ways that chemists have pushed the boundaries of what we know and how we go about learning more,” according to the editors.

Baran’s research, “14-Step Synthesis of (+)-Ingenol from (+)-3-Carene” was published in the journal Science in August. (See News&Views coverage.) Shenvi’s study, “Stereoinversion of tertiary alcohols to tertiary-alkyl isonitriles and amines,” appeared in the September issue of Nature. (See News&Views story.)

Kendall Nettles Awarded Cancer Research Grant

Kendall Nettles, associate professor in the TSRI Department of Cancer Biology, has received the Jacquie Liggett Fellowship from the Hearing the Ovarian Cancer Whisper (HOW) organization for his research in ovarian cancer.

Nettles’s research focuses on steroid hormone receptors and their roles in cancer progression.

Founded by the late Jacquie Liggett, HOW is a nonprofit organization supporting ovarian cancer research, educational programs, financial assistance for women in need and scholarships to medical students interested in gynecologic oncology.

Four TSRI Researchers Receive AHA Awards

Four TSRI researchers—Yoshitake Cho, Andrea Galmozzi, Melody Campbell and Sadichha Sitaula—have been awarded American Heart Association fellowships, designed to support early career scientists working in cardiovascular and stroke research.

Cho, research associate in the Kralli lab, has received an AHA scientist development grant, which supports highly promising beginning scientists. He is studying the role of Perm1—an unknown function gene—in exercise-induced adaptation in skeletal muscle, aiming to provide novel therapeutic targets for treating and preventing metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

Galmozzi, research associate in the Saez lab, has been awarded an AHA postdoctoral fellowship. His research project “Evaluation of the role of Sult2b1 in diabetes-driven atherosclerosis,” focuses on the Sult2b1 enzyme and its potential role in treating cardiovascular disease.

Campbell, a graduate student in the Carragher lab, has received an AHA predoctoral fellowship. She is investigating the structure of soluble guanylate cyclase, which has been linked to heart disease, stroke, hypertension, erectile dysfunction and neurodegeneration.

Sitaula, a graduate student in the Burris lab, also received an AHA predoctoral fellowship. Situala is studying the role of the nuclear receptor REV-ERBs in the regulation of cholesterol synthesis and pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.

25th Frontiers of Chemistry Symposium Scheduled for January 31

Marking a quarter-century milestone, the 25th Annual Frontiers of Chemistry Symposium, presented by TSRI, will be held Friday, January 31, from 1 to 5:15 PM, in The Auditorium at TSRI.

Hosted by Professor Dale Boger, chair of TSRI’s Department of Chemistry, and TSRI Professor Phil Baran, the symposium will feature four speakers:

  • Raymond Stevens, professor in TSRI’s Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology
  • Peter Dervan, the Bren Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
  • Paul Anderson, Merck chemist and executive (retired) and American Chemical Society Priestley Medal winner
  • Richard Lerner, Institute Professor and the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Immunochemistry in TSRI’s Department of Cell and Molecular Biology

Following a welcome by Boger, the symposium will begin with introductory remarks by TSRI President and CEO Michael Marletta. Baran will provide closing comments.

Since the first symposium in 1990, the event has hosted 85 speakers, including eight Nobel laureates, from leading universities and research institutions throughout the world. This year’s sponsors include Amgen, aTyr Pharma, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, Incyte, Pfizer and Sigma-Aldrich.

Symposium admittance is free; attendance is limited to 300. Directions and parking details are available at the symposium website or by contacting Janise Petrey at or (858) 784-8772.

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Professor Emeritus Charles Weissmann was honored with an Ernst Jung Gold Medal for Medicine for "his trailblazing scientific life work". (Photo by Lucien Capehart.)