New TSRI Method Opens Door to Development of Many New Medicines
Discovered: a New Protein Crucial to Normal Forgetting
Scientists Create Compound that Erases Disease-Causing RNA Defects
New HIV-Mimicking Particles Could Advance AIDS Vaccine
Team Awarded $1.3 Million to Optimize Chemical Probes to Test Innovative Approach to Cancer



Of Note

TSRI Receives Top '4-Star' Charity Rating

Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest evaluator of charities, has announced that The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has received a “4-star” rating for sound financial management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

The assessment places the institute among only 25 percent of all U.S. charities that receive the 4-star rating. Charity Navigator uses a numbers-based rating system to analyze the performance of more than 8,000 U.S. charitable organizations.

In the letter of notification, Charity Navigator President and CEO Michael Thatcher wrote, “Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that The Scripps Research Institute exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in your area of work. This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets The Scripps Research Institute apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.”

A summary of TSRI’s rating information is available on the Charity Navigator website.

Jeffery Kelly Selected to Receive Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award

Jeffery Kelly, chair of the Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine and the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry at TSRI, has been selected to receive the 2016 Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine, which recognizes scientists whose work has outstanding content and significant practical consequences in the biomedical sciences.

Kelly was cited for his “profound and paradigm-shifting contributions to our understanding of protein folding mechanisms and protein misfolding diseases.” His work advances new approaches for combatting conditions including amyloid diseases, Gaucher’s disease, cystic fibrosis and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Sponsored by the Jacob and Louise Gabbay Foundation and administered by the Rosenstiel Center at Brandeis University, the annual award includes a $15,000 cash prize and a medallion. Kelly will deliver the award lecture on “The Chemistry and Biology of Adapting Proteostasis for Disease Intervention” at Brandeis in September.

For additional information on Kelly, visit his faculty web page and lab website.

Erica Ollmann Saphire Wins Microbiology Society Research Award

TSRI Professor Erica Ollmann Saphire has won the American Society for Microbiology’s (ASM) Eli Lilly and Company-Elanco Research Award, ASM’s “oldest and most prestigious award for fundamental research of unusual merit in microbiology or immunology by an individual on the threshold of his or her career.”

Saphire and her colleagues combine x-ray crystallography, biochemistry and immunology to analyze proteins that play key roles in the pathogenesis of Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers; structures of these proteins provide templates for vaccine design to enable rapid response to newly emerging forms of the viruses.

She will deliver an award lecture, titled “The Molecular Tool-kit of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers,” this month in Boston at a meeting of the ASM, an organization with membership comprising more than 47,000 scientists and health professionals worldwide.

For more information on Saphire, see her faculty page and lab website.

Kristian Andersen Named Pew Scholar

TSRI Assistant Professor Kristian Andersen has been named a 2016 Pew Scholar.

“For more than 30 years, The Pew Charitable Trusts has proudly supported outstanding biomedical researchers at the start of their careers, encouraging the kind of creativity that leads to remarkable discoveries,” said President and CEO Rebecca W. Rimel. “The members of this exemplary group join a community of scientists that they will learn with, and learn from, for the rest of their lives.”

Andersen uses infectious disease genomics to investigate the interaction between the human host and highly pathogenic viruses such as Zika, Ebola and Lassa to explore how these viruses evolve in response to selection pressures imposed by the host immune system, with the goal of developing new vaccines and therapeutics for these and other emerging pathogens.

For additional information on Andersen and his research, visit the his faculty web page and lab website.

Anna Phan Wins Early-Career Fellowship

Anna Phan, a research associate in the Davis laboratory at Scripps Florida, has been awarded a two-year fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The competitive award provides recognition and funding for academic researchers early in their careers.

Phan joined TSRI in September 2013, a few months after graduating with a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Guelph in Canada, where she worked in the laboratory of Elena Choleris studying the effects of estrogens on learning and memory, dendritic spines and glutamate neurotransmission in mice.

The new fellowship will support Phan’s current research, which is aimed at identifying how a gene known as a risk factor for schizophrenia affects cognitive processing, neural connectivity and neuron function.

Next ResearcHERS Event to Feature Katja Lamia

The next ResearcHERS event will feature TSRI Assistant Professor Katja Lamia, speaking on the “Fascinating World of Circadian Rhythms,” on Wednesday, June 22, from 4 to 6 PM.

Hosted by the Female Faculty Group at TSRI, the ResearcHERS lecture series aims to provide the institute’s friends and donors a behind-the-scenes look at biomedical research and the work of women in the field.

Lamia’s research investigates the molecular basis for the circadian control of metabolism, DNA damage response and tumorigenesis to enable novel therapies for treating metabolic diseases and cancer.

Open to the public, the event will be held at the Auditorium at TSRI, with complimentary parking. A reception will follow the lecture. Reservations are requested; contact Chelsea Luedeke at (858) 784-7083 or

Send comments to: mikaono[at]

TSRI Professor Jeffery Kelly has received the 2016 Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine for his “profound and paradigm-shifting” research on protein misfolding diseases.

Professor Erica Ollmann Saphire has won the American Society for Microbiology’s Eli Lilly and Company-Elanco Research Award.

Assistant Professor Kristian Andersen has been named a Pew Scholar in biomedical science.