November 2012

The Scripps Research Institute

At the Forefront

Dear Scripps Research Institute Friend,

This time of year, we inevitably start thinking about all the reasons we have to be thankful. The past year has been full of important research that spans the medical spectrum: oncology, Alzheimer's, diabetes, Parkinson's, and more. We are deeply grateful for the devoted scientists and staff who work tirelessly to make these advances possible.

We are confident this research will lead to breakthrough treatments and cures  and we know we couldn't have done it without your support. Thank you for your dedication to this important cause. Together, we will change the landscape of science and medicine one treatment at a time.

We wish you and your loved ones a safe, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving.

With gratitude,
William J. Burfitt
Director, Office of Philanthropy


Focus On:

Ron DavisProfessor Ron Davis

Gene variations linked to a higher risk of bipolar disorder

Scientists don't know what causes bipolar disorder, but they do know that the condition tends to run in families.

Instead of chasing possible environmental triggers  which have reportedly ranged from infections to trauma to cannabis use  some investigators at TSRI are focusing on genes that are related to mental illness.

And now Scripps Florida Professor Ron Davis appears to have found something big: small variations in genes linked with the disorder.

"As far as I know, this has not been done before," he said. "This is a new approach."

Read more �


Milestones in Medical Science:

Richard A. LernerProfessor Richard
A. Lerner

Advances in treating ulcerative colitis

In late September, the FDA approved Humira� for the treatment of moderate to severe ulcerative colitis in adults. Roughly 700,000 Americans are affected by ulcerative colitis, a serious and painful inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the colon.

Paving the way for Humira� was research conducted by TSRI's former president, Professor Richard Lerner. In parallel with Sir Gregory Winter of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Britain, Dr. Lerner was the architect of combinatorial antibody libraries  currently the most widely used type of library in the field of biochemistry  which are used to quickly isolate antibodies that bind to a desired target.

But TSRI hasn't stopped there in the pursuit of better treatments for ulcerative colitis.

Read more �


Other News:

Lisa StowersAssociate Professor Lisa Stowers

The smell of mom: Scientists find elusive trigger for suckling in mice

Most mammals are born knowing how to find their mother's nipples and drink, and would die quickly if they didn't. But scientists know little about how this type of "innate" behavior is coded in the brain.

TSRI Associate Professor Lisa Stowers set out to find the "on switch," sorting through the vast complexity of sights, sounds, smells and other factors that very young animals are exposed to.

And what she found has confounded conventional wisdom: Mice learn to suckle their mother's milk through a combination of smells, not through pheromones, as was previously thought.

Read more �

Facts & Figures

Last month, TSRI received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for the third year in a row for its exceptional financial health, accountability, and transparency. Only nine percent of charities evaluated by Charity Navigator have received at least three consecutive four-star ratings.

The Gift of Health

As families gather this holiday season, health is one of the things many are most thankful for. Your support can help bring the gift of health for generations to come.

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Baran Wins Distinguished Scientist Award

TSRI Professor Phil Baran has been named recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Scientist Award by the American Chemical Society  San Diego.

The award recognizes Dr. Baran's contributions in the area of synthetic organic chemistry. His discoveries have targeted cancer, as well as bacterial and fungal illnesses.

"Phil's accomplishments to date are stunning and a perfect example of the chemistry that goes on at TSRI," said TSRI President Michael Marletta.

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