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Of Note

Carlos Barbas, Erica Ollmann Saphire Named Fellows of Academy of Microbiology

Two professors at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI)—Carlos Barbas and Erica Ollmann Saphire—have been named fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, a distinction recognizing excellence, originality and creativity in the microbiological sciences.

Barbas, the Janet and Keith Kellogg II Chair professor in the TSRI Department of Chemistry, focuses his research on studies at the interface of molecular biology, chemistry and medicine. Specifically, his lab is investigating the directed regulation of gene expression, catalytic antibodies and new immunotherapeutic approaches to diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer, melanoma and AIDS.

Ollmann Saphire, a professor in the TSRI Department of Immunology and Microbial Science, is studying viral pathogenesis at the molecular level. Her work is providing fundamental insights into how the Ebola, Lassa, and other viruses enter cells, assemble progeny and suppress host immune function, and is providing much-needed diagnostics and therapeutics for biodefense.

The American Academy of Microbiology is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, the world's oldest and largest life science organization. The group’s mission is to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to microbiology and provide microbiological expertise in the service of science and the public.

Ryan Shenvi Wins Sloan Research Fellowship

TSRI Assistant Professor Ryan Shenvi has received a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship, awarded to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders, according to the award announcement.

Sloan Research Fellowships are awarded in eight scientific and technical fields—chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, evolutionary and computational molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences and physics. Candidates are nominated by their fellow scientists, and winning fellows are selected by an independent panel of senior scholars. Each fellow receives a $50,000 award.

Shenvi’s lab at TSRI focuses on complex molecule synthesis, exploration of chemical reactivity and expansion of the tools available to synthetic chemists. Last fall, a study by Shenvi and his team published in the science journal Nature described a new technique—considered impossible for more than 100 years—that significantly expands chemists’ ability to build and modify many pharmaceuticals as well as other useful organic molecules. (See News&Views.)

Past Sloan Research Fellows include such notables as physicist Richard Feynman and game theorist John Nash. Additionally, 42 fellows are Nobel laureates, 16 have won the Fields Medal in mathematics, 13 have won the John Bates Clark Medal in economics and 63 have received the National Medal of Science.

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Professors Carlos Barbas (top) and Erica Ollmann Saphire are new members of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Assistant Professor Ryan Shenvi has been selected for a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship.