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Of Note

TSRI Graduate Students Win NSF Fellowships

Four current and four incoming graduate students at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have won National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships, supporting outstanding students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The fellowship recipients are: 

  • Aaron Feldman, second-year graduate student in the Romesberg lab, who is studying the chemical optimization of an unnatural base pair for in vivo expansion of the genetic alphabet
  • Christopher Glinkerman, second-year graduate student in the Boger lab, whose proposal detailed the synthesis of plant growth hormone analogs and evaluation of their biological activity
  • Samantha Green, an incoming TSRI graduate student  from Emory University
  • John Gurak, an incoming TSRI graduate student from the University of Texas, Arlington
  • Michael Ledbetter, first-year graduate student in the Romesberg lab, who is engineering bacterial (E. coli) cells to improve their uptake and replication of unnatural basepairs within their genome, ultimately to produce novel therapeutics agents and materials
  • Jeishla Melendez, first-year graduate student in the Shenvi lab, whose research focuses on developing an array of new reactions toward the stereoselective manipulation of unstabilized carbocations to fill a major methodological gap in organic synthesis
  • Sydney Morris, an incoming TSRI graduate student from The George Washington University
  • Tyler St. Denis, an incoming TSRI graduate student from Columbia University. 

This year, the NSF awarded fellowships to just 12 percent of the 16,000 applicants from accredited U.S. institutions.

Joanne Doherty Receives Florida Center for Tumor Brain Research Grant

Joanne Doherty, senior staff scientist in the Guo lab, has received a grant from the Florida Center for Brain Tumor Research, in partnership with Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, supporting work on the cutting edge of scientific inquiry, including development of innovative gene, virus, nanoparticle and immunity-based therapies, according to the award announcement. 

Grant recipients also include three scientists from the University of Florida and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. 

Doherty’s research focuses on interfering with protein synthesis machinery to specifically kill glioblastoma tumor cells. High levels of malformed proteins are lethal to cells, and this research proposes using unique characteristics of tumor metabolism to induce this scenario in glioblastoma cells.

Disney Lab Intern Takes First Place in STEM Competition

Tevin Ali, a 23-year-old intern in the laboratory of Professor Matthew Disney on the Scripps Florida campus, won first place in the oral presentation competition at the 2015 Life Sciences South Florida STEM Undergraduate Research Conference—and walked away with an iPad Air for his efforts. The conference was hosted by Indian River State College.

His presentation focused on his current work in the Disney lab—figuring out ways to inhibit microRNA function in various disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Ali’s internship, which is in its fourth month, finishes up on May 1. He is in a two-year biotech program at Palm Beach State College and is considering another local school, Florida Atlantic University, to complete his undergraduate degree—perhaps focusing on the business side of biotechnology. 

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Scripps Florida Reaches Out
SF wellness
The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach recently hosted a Health and Wellness Festival, including a Scripps Florida booth that provided information about research on the Jupiter campus and an opportunity to talk to scientists and staff. The event was sponsored by local ABC affiliate WPVF, which featured several news stories on Scripps Florida scientists in the week leading up to the event. Above, Sukhi Mahal (left), senior staff scientist, and Ainhoa Nieto, research associate, staff the TSRI booth. (Photo by Eric Sauter)

Scripps Florida intern Tevin Ali won first place in the oral presentation category at the Life Sciences South Florida STEM Undergraduate Research Conference.