The Scripps Research Institute - At The Forefront

March 2016

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Focus on:
Flipping a "Switch" to Stop Nicotine Cravings

Like food, exercise and sex, nicotine affects neurons in the reward center of the brain, which then trigger positive emotions through the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.

In a new study, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered how a fat molecule found in the center may act as a "switch" to increase or decrease the motivation to consume nicotine. The discovery could lead to new drugs to help smokers quit.

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Loren ("Larry") Parsons, senior author of the new study, is a professor at The Scripps Research Institute.






TSRI's groundbreaking, collaborative research is developing new treatments and cures for conditions from nicotine addiction to multiple sclerosis, which impact millions around the globe. Please support this life-saving work today.


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Professor Hugh Rosen (left), who led the study with Assistant Professor John Teijaro (right) and Professor Michael Oldstone (not pictured).


milestones in medical science:
A New Way to Fight Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus

Worldwide, nearly eight million people suffer from the debilitating diseases lupus and multiple sclerosis. However, existing treatments for these and other autoimmune diseases often weaken sufferers' immune systems, leaving them vulnerable to a host of viruses and bacteria.

Now, TSRI scientists have discovered a way to "dial down" the dangerous autoimmune responses seen in these conditions without compromising the immune system's ability to fight other diseases and infections.

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Through their foundation, Junming and Iris Le have funded a new microscopy facility on the Scripps Florida campus.


Other News:
How a New Microscope Will Advance Our Understanding of the Brain

Through a $500,000 donation from the co-developer of Remicade®, one of the three top-selling drugs in the world, TSRI has purchased a new super-resolution microscope so powerful that it can inspect the minute details of synapses in fruit fly brains. With this addition to their research arsenal, TSRI scientists will be able to better understand diseases that impact the brain, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

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Study on Lou Gehrig's Disease Selected for Best of Neuron

A study led by TSRI Professor Matthew Disney and Leonard Petrucelli, a professor at the Mayo Clinic, has been included in Best of Neuron, 2014-2015, a collection celebrating readers' and editors' favorite studies published in the journal Neuron. In the study, Drs. Disney and Petrucelli designed and tested the first therapy successfully targeting a specific genetic mutation that causes a common form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, as well as a type of frontotemporal dementia.



facts & figures

More than 16 million Americans are currently living with a disease caused by smoking, and treating them costs approximately $170 billion per year.




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