July 2012

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Description: Kirill MartemyanovAssociate Professor Kirill Martemyanov

Researchers uncover new molecules critical to vision

Scripps Florida scientists have taken an important step forward in understanding some of the fundamentals of vision.

In a pair of related studies last month, they identified several proteins that help regulate cells' response to light.
The findings could also point to the mechanisms behind night blindness, a rare disease that prevents people from being able to see in dim light.

"We were looking at the fundamental mechanisms that shape our light sensation," said Scripps Research Associate Professor Kirill Martemyanov. "In the process, we discovered a pair of molecules that are indispensable for our vision and possibly play critical roles in the brain."

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Milestones in Medical Science:

Description: DNA StructureAn expanded "DNA alphabet" could carry more information than natural DNA, potentially enabling powerful applications

Expanding the genetic alphabet

Imagine a world where scientists can make antibodies that are exponentially more effective than the ones that occur in nature, or where they can design synthetic anti-cancer drugs that are far more productive than the best "natural" organism.

A major breakthrough by Scripps Research scientists just brought that world of synthetic biology one step closer.

In a high-profile study, a Scripps Research team has created and incorporated new letters into the genetic code far more easily than previously thought possible.

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Description: Richard A. LernerProfessor Richard
A. Lerner

Richard Lerner wins the "Spanish Nobel Prize"

Scripps Research Professor Richard A. Lerner has been awarded Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research for his "decisive contributions to the field of immunology and, in particular, for obtaining antibodies of major therapeutic value."

Dr. Lerner, who served as president of The Scripps Research Institute for 25 years and is currently the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Immunochemistry and a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research, has pioneered antibody technology that has led to drugs including Humira® for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions and Benlysta®, the first new FDA-approved treatment for lupus in 50 years.

Facts & Figures

Human DNA consists of four bases – adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T) – in sequences that are roughly 99% the same in all people.

Support true innovation in biomedical research

Scripps Research scientists pursue the innovative ideas that lead to research breakthroughs, but they can only do this with your support.

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A non-surgical procedure to sterilize pets

Scripps Research graduate student Owen Siggs was awarded a $15,000 prize by the Found Animals Foundation for his proposal for sterilizing dogs and cats non-surgically.

While surgical spay/neuter procedures are relatively safe and effective, they require general anesthesia, a surgical facility, and a veterinary surgeon. A faster, more cost-effective non-surgical sterilization method could improve spay/neuter rates and reduce the population of unwanted pets. According to the L.A.-based non-profit, between 3 and 4 million animals are euthanized in U.S. shelters each year.

In 2010, Dr. William Ja at Scripps Florida was awarded a grant from the same organization to further his work with fruit flies that sheds light on aspects of human aging, disease and nutrition, and holds potential for animal sterilization.

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