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In Brief

Jeffery Kelly Receives Chemical Pioneer Award

Jeffery W. Kelly, Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry and co-chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), has received the American Institute of Chemists (AIC) 2017 Chemical Pioneer Award.

Chemical Pioneer Award winners are selected from among scientists around the world for their outstanding contributions to the chemical sciences and the translation of chemistry into useful products. This award honors Kelly’s breakthroughs in understanding and developing a novel therapeutic strategy for treating neurodegenerative diseases, including familial amyloid polyneuropathy, a disease wherein the misshapen transthyretin protein causes autonomic and peripheral nerve damage. Kelly led research to understand how transthyretin aggregates, allowing him to conceive of the kinetic stabilizer strategy. This led to the discovery of the first drug, now called Tafamidis or Vyndaqel, approved by regulatory agencies to slow the progression of the amyloid disease familial amyloid polyneuropathy.

“In accepting the award, I also wish to acknowledge the critical contributions of the hardworking and dedicated graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have trained in my laboratory and whose efforts have made Tafamidis possible. I have been privileged to work with some very talented people over the course of almost three decades,” said Kelly.

Kelly will be presented with the award on May 11, 2017, at the AIC Chemical Pioneer Symposium in Philadelphia, where he will also give a lecture. This is the second consecutive year a TSRI faculty member has won the award. TSRI Professor Donna Blackmond was named a winner in 2016.

For more on Kelly’s work, see his faculty page and laboratory homepage.

Kim Janda Featured at Clinton Foundation Health Matters Summit

janda panel
Left to right: President Bill Clinton, Judith Feinberg of the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Richard Rawson of the University of Vermont and TSRI Professor Kim Janda. (Photo courtesy Clinton Foundation.)

The Clinton Foundation Health Matters Annual Activation Summit brings together the nation’s brightest minds to discuss pressing health issues and innovations to address them. This year, Kim Janda, Ely R. Callaway, Jr. Professor of Chemistry at TSRI, was invited to participate and to share his expertise as it relates to drug addiction.

Janda, a leading bioorganic chemist and a winner of several prestigious awards from groups such as the American Chemical Society, may be best known for his development of vaccines against drugs of abuse—which work by training antibodies to attack drug molecules, stopping the drug from reaching the brain to cause the euphoria of a “high.”

Addressing the Summit—and a wide online audience—Janda shared how a vaccine developed in his TSRI lab could help people with opioid addiction avoid relapse and even survive potential fatal overdoses. “Why don’t we take advantage of our immune system? Vaccines have saved more lives over the last 50 years than any other drug there is,” explained Janda.

Janda spoke as part of a panel “Catalyzing Solutions to the Opioid Epidemic,” moderated by President Bill Clinton. President Clinton interviewed Janda about the potential vaccine, explaining how it could one day help many Americans.

Watch a recording of the panel at Learn more about Janda’s opioid vaccine.

David Goodsell Receives People’s Choice Award from NSF and Popular Science

David Goodsell, associate professor of molecular biology at TSRI, has received a Vizzies Challenge People’s Choice Award in the Illustration category from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Popular Science. Goodsell’s winning piece is a watercolor and ink illustration showing a cross-section of Zika virus surrounded by human blood plasma molecules as the virus interacts with receptors on the host cell surface.

The Vizzies Challenge highlights photographs, videos, illustrations, interactive apps, posters and graphics produced by academic researchers, artists or hobbyists. Goodsell’s piece was selected from among hundreds of submissions and is one of just five 2017 People’s Choice honorees chosen by Popular Science readers.

To view more of Goodsell’s “molecular art,” visit his website.

Torrey Club Café to Open April 19

Employees and visitors on TSRI’s California campus have a new on-site dining option! The Torrey Club Café, located in the lower level of the Faculty Club, opens April 19 and offers coffee, breakfast and lunch options from award-winning restaurateur Salvatore Ercolano.

The Torrey Club Café will be open Monday to Friday, 7:30 AM to 3:00 PM. The menu includes smoothies, a rotating salad bar, breakfast sandwiches, wraps, ready-to-go hot plates and bowls, and made-to-order paninis, pizzas, pastas, sandwiches and grilled items. A lunch special for $7.00 includes waffle fries, a small fountain drink and choice of an Angus beef burger, turkey burger, veggie burger, sausage link or Doggie Dog hot dog.

The restaurant will feature big screen televisions inside, free Wi-Fi and a dining deck with sweeping views of the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the ocean beyond. Diners will also have the option to preorder items through Zingle text messaging, so their food will be ready when they arrive.

The restaurant will offer catering for parties of 30 to 400 guests through Torrey Club Catering. Information on catering will be available soon at or by calling 858-784-9824.

Just follow the signs outside the TSRI Faculty Club for dining on campus!

CA ScrippsAssists to Support San Diego Humane Society Walk on May 6

ScrippsAssists invites TSRI faculty, staff, families and friends to volunteer for the San Diego Humane Society’s (SDHS) 2017 Walk for Animals to be held Saturday, May 6, 2017, at NTC Park, Liberty Station in Point Loma.

The volunteer shift lasts from 7:30 AM to 11:30 AM. Volunteers will set up and staff water stations along the walk route, fill dog bowls and cheer on walkers as they pass the station. All volunteers will receive a complimentary volunteer T-shirt to be worn at the event, pancake breakfast and snacks.

To sign up or if you have any questions, please contact Project Lead Tanya Gresham at or 858-784-7948. If you prefer to walk with your furry friend, please visit the SDHS Walk for Animals website at

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kelly award imageJeffery W. Kelly, Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry and co-chair of the TSRI Department of Molecular Medicine. (Photo by Jennifer Catacutan.)

goodsell paintingDavid Goodsell's painting shows Zika virus (pink) approaching a host cell (blue) and binding with the cell's protein receptors (green).