Scripps Research Institute Names Peter Schultz as CEO, Steve Kay as President
TSRI and UC San Diego Launch New Consortium to Create 'Virtual Cell'
Institute Receives $5.65 Million Gift from Philanthropist Helen Dorris



Scripps Research Institute Names Peter Schultz as CEO, Steve Kay as President

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has announced the appointment of chemist Peter G. Schultz as CEO and biologist Steve A. Kay as President.

Schultz is currently a member of the TSRI faculty, as well as Director of the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr). He is also a successful entrepreneur and has led major drug discovery efforts in both the commercial and nonprofit sectors.

Kay, a former TSRI faculty member, is currently dean of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC). His work has been highlighted in Science magazine’s “Breakthroughs of the Year” on three separate occasions.

"I am delighted that Pete and Steve will assume leadership roles at TSRI," said Dick Gephardt, Chair of the TSRI Board of Trustees and President/CEO of Gephardt Government Affairs. "Their shared vision of creating a unique position for the Institute at the forefront of basic and translational research is tremendously exciting. I expect great things to come.”

"After 16 years on the faculty, I am delighted with the opportunity to give back to the Institute in a leadership role," said Schultz. "I have a tremendous respect for TSRI’s commitment to scientific excellence, and the collegiality and entrepreneurial spirit of the faculty. These qualities are key as we move forward into a new era of biomedical research in which TSRI will play a leadership role. There is a lot to be done, and I look forward to working with Steve, the Board, faculty and staff as a team to further expand the footprint of Scripps in science and medicine."

“I welcome the opportunity to return to Scripps,” said Kay, “and to realize a vision of combining the Institute’s world-class reputation in basic biological and chemical sciences with the ability to advance novel therapeutics for major unmet medical needs. I look forward to working together with Pete and TSRI’s board, faculty, staff, administration, postdocs, students, friends and donors to enhance the institute’s contributions to biomedical research, graduate education and human health.”

Gephardt noted that Schultz will take the lead in developing long-term strategy and external alliances, with a focus on building “bench-to-bedside” research capabilities, while Kay will spearhead the academic and operational activities of the Institute. Schultz and Kay will work together to further enhance the Institute’s scientific reputation and build a strong financial base for the Institute.

Schultz assumes his role immediately, while Kay will begin as president-elect as he transitions from USC.

Gephardt expressed his gratitude to James Paulson, who has been acting president and CEO since August 2014. “Jim has served the institute admirably during this transition, and I would like to extend my deepest thanks for his meaningful leadership during this critical transition.”

Peter G. Schultz

Peter Schultz graduated from Caltech with a B.S. in Chemistry and continued there for his doctoral degree in 1984. After a postdoctoral year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Professor of Chemistry, a Principal Investigator at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and an Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He moved to TSRI in 1999, where he is currently the Scripps Family Chair Professor of Chemistry. 

Schultz’s research is at the interface of chemistry and biology. He has pioneered technologies to make and characterize molecules and materials hundreds to millions at a time—work that has dramatically impacted our ability to create new medicines and materials. He has led the development of new drugs that affect endogenous stem cells for neurodegenerative diseases and diseases of aging, and has directed efforts that have resulted in breakthrough therapies for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune and infectious disease. Most recently his laboratory has successfully created new “synthetic” organisms in which the evolutionary constraints of the 20-amino acid genetic code are lifted, allowing scientists to create biomolecules with new activities that are not possible using Mother Nature’s code.

Schultz has coauthored roughly 600 scientific publications and trained more than 300 coworkers, many of whom are on the faculties of major institutions throughout the world. He is a founder of nine biotech/tech companies that have pioneered the development and application of new technologies to challenges in energy, materials and human health. In 1999 he founded the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), one of the world's leading translational research institutes, and in 2012 he formed the nonprofit biomedical research institute Calibr as a new model to accelerate the discovery of medicines for unmet needs.

Schultz has received numerous awards including the Alan T. Waterman Award, National Science Foundation (1988), the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Pure Chemistry (1990), the Wolf Prize in Chemistry (1994), the Paul Erhlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Award (2002), the ACS Arthur C. Cope Award (2006), and the Solvay Prize (2013). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (1993) and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (1998).

Steve A. Kay

Steve A. Kay, a graduate of the University of Bristol, United Kingdom (BSc, 1981; PhD, 1984; DSc, 2014), conducted postdoctoral work at The Rockefeller University with Professor Nam-Hai Chua. He was subsequently appointed a member of the faculty at Rockefeller and then joined the University of Virginia in 1992.

In 1996, he moved to TSRI, where he rose to become professor in the Department of Cell Biology, chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, director of the Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases and chairman of the Scripps Florida Steering Committee. During this time (1999-2004), he was also director of discovery research at GNF, where he helped build research programs applying human genome science to biomedical research and drug discovery.

In 2007, Kay joined the University of California (UC), San Diego, where he was dean of biological sciences and Richard C. Atkinson Chair in Biological Sciences. In 2012, he joined USC as dean of Dornsife College, also holding the Anna H. Bing Dean’s Chair. While at USC, Kay was responsible for building large-scale academic programs and was widely recognized for prolific fundraising to support his vision.

An internationally renowned expert on genes and circadian rhythms, Kay has published more than 250 papers and was recently named by Thomson Reuters as a Highly Cited Researcher. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2008 and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009. In 2010, he was awarded the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. In recognition of his pioneering work in plant sciences, Kay was chosen to receive the 2011 Martin Gibbs Medal by the American Society for Plant Biology.

Kay also has founded several biotechnology companies, most recently Reset Therapeutics, a San Francisco-based drug development corporation.

Send comments to: press[at]

TSRI’s CEO Pete Schultz (right) and President-Elect Steve Kay chat before the town hall meeting announcing their appointments. (Photo by John Dole.)


Peter G. Schultz
Steve A. Kay