Estrogen-mimicking compounds in foods may reduce effectiveness of breast cancer treatment
TSRI researchers identify gene responsible for mesenchymal stem cells’ stem-ness
Scripps Translational Science Institute, Nature Research launch open-access digital medicine journal



Of Note

Wendy Havran receives AAI Distinguished Service Award

Professor Wendy Havran, PhD, has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Council of The American Association of Immunologists (AAI). The award recognizes Havran’s leadership and contributions to AAI programs and the immunology community over the last 20 years.

In addition to her leadership in AAI, Havran runs a lab dedicated to shedding light on interactions between immune cells and tissues of the thymus, skin and intestine. Her team has identified cell surface molecules and growth factors that regulate epithelial T cell functional responses. This work has increased the field’s understanding of the role that these cells play in epithelial and mucosal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, malignancies and wound healing. 

Havran also serves as associate dean of graduate studies for TSRI’s Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences. 

Havran will be recognized at the AAI conference IMMUNOLOGY 2018 in Austin, TX, in May.

TSRI graduate students receive ARCS scholar awards
Five graduate students at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have received Scholar Awards from the San Diego chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Students (ARCS) Foundation, a national organization dedicated to advancing science in the United States through grants to academically outstanding U.S. citizens pursuing degrees in science, engineering or medical research.

The award recipients are:

  • Danielle Grotjahn
  • Chris Cottrell
  • Michael Ledbetter
  • Daisy Johnson
  • Rigo Cintron-Colon

This year marks the 21st anniversary of the first ARCS scholarships given to TSRI students. The program is funded through corporate, foundation and individual donors.

Leaders from the ARCS San Diego Chapter visited the California campus of TSRI on Jan. 25, 2018 to present the award to this year’s scholars. From top left: Michael Ledbetter, Chris Cottrell, Rigo Cintron-Colon, Bruno Conti, PhD, Kim Doren, Chelsea Luedeke. Bottom left: Wendy Havran, PhD, Philip Dawson, PhD, Floyd Romesberg, PhD, Daisy Johnson, Danielle Grotjahn, Mary Lou Quick (ARCS co-president), Priscilla Moxley, Tami Strachan (Photo by Madeline McCurry-Schmidt)

TSRI researchers to co-lead new study of opioid pain medicines

Researchers from Kim Janda's lab at TSRI, along with partners at Scripps Health, have begun enrolling human subjects for an observational study funded by the ALSAM Foundation to look at how the long-term use of opioid pain medicines can affect patients with back pain. The study investigators are interested in monitoring individuals who are at least 20 years old who have had back pain for at least the last six months. They will be searching for differences in immunologic and inflammatory markers between those individuals who have a chronic history of taking oxycodone and hydrocodone for their back pain and those individuals who have not been using these drugs.

“Considering the ongoing issues with prescription opiate abuse, and the potential for transition into substance use disorder or overdose following long-term use of opioids, we are looking to identify factors that may contribute to reduced efficacy of these medications over time, or even development of adverse reactions,” says Cody Wenthur, PhD, a co-investigator for the study. “Fully identifying the risks associated with long-term opioid use is especially important for common conditions like back pain where the frequency of chronic opioid prescription in the population is fairly high, despite recommendations that they be reserved only for patients in whom nondrug and NSAID therapeutic strategies have failed.”

Enrollment for the study is occurring at Scripps Green Hospital, and subjects will be asked to answer a health information questionnaire as well as provide a blood sample. Subjects will receive compensation for their sample, as well as information about non-opioid methods that are available to manage back pain. Some individuals will also be asked to fill out a medication diary and return for a second visit if they fit specific opioid-use criteria. Anyone interested in getting more information or enrolling in the study should contact the study coordinator at 858-678-6084.

Send comments to: press[at]

Wendy Havran, PhD, professor at TSRI (Photo by Biomedical Graphics)