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The Scripps Research Institute

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Title: The Scripps Research Institute  
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The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute
TSRI's California and Florida Campuses
Established 1991 (1991)
President Michael Marletta
Faculty 265
Staff 3,000

La Jolla, California

Jupiter, Florida, USA

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is a nonprofit American medical research facility that focuses on research and education in the biomedical sciences. Headquartered in La Jolla, California, with a sister facility in Jupiter, Florida, the institute is home to 3,000 scientists, technicians, graduate students, and administrative and other staff, making it among the largest private, non-profit biomedical research organizations in the world.


TSRI's roots can be traced to the Scripps Metabolic Clinic, founded near the current site in La Jolla, CA, 1924 by the philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, who was inspired by the discovery of insulin. In 1946, the metabolic clinic separated from Scripps Memorial Hospital.

In 1956, the organization was renamed Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation to reflect its broader focus and management's renewed commitment to biomedical research. Harvard biochemist A. Baird Hastings joined the institute in 1959, followed by immunologist Frank J. Dixon and four of his colleagues (William Weigle, Joseph Feldman, Charles Cochrane, and Jacinto Vazquez) in 1961, biochemist Frank Huennekens and microbiologist John Spizizen in 1962, then other scientists. Dixon was appointed director of research operations in 1970, and in 1977 these operations assumed the name of The Research Institute of Scripps Clinic.[1]

Upon Dixon's retirement in 1986, Richard Lerner, who had been chair of the Scripps Department of Molecular Biology, was appointed the research institute's new director. Lerner continued to expand the institute, both in size and reputation. In 1989, the institute launched a graduate program, later renamed the Kellogg School of Science and Technology. In 1991, the research division separated from Scripps Clinic, becoming an independent nonprofit organization under the name of The Scripps Research Institute.[1] Plans for an additional campus in Florida were announced in October 2003 and research operations began there the next year.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography is often incorrectly associated with TSRI; it is in fact a nearby research facility that is part of UCSD. TSRI is a private nonprofit institute not directly associated with UCSD. Confusingly, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography was once called the Scripps Institution for Biological Research.


TSRI's California campus is located on 35 acres (140,000 m2) of land between the Torrey Pines State Reserve and the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla. In Florida, TSRI occupies 30 acres (120,000 m2) adjacent to the John D. MacArthur campus of Florida Atlantic University in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Departments and centers

TSRI emphasizes interdisciplinary studies. Departments provide support to the faculty, organized around: cancer biology, cell and molecular biology, chemical physiology, chemistry, immunology and microbial science, infectious diseases, immunology and microbial science, molecular and cellular neuroscience, molecular and experimental medicine, molecular therapeutics, neurobiology of addictive disorders, and aging and metabolism.

In addition, the institute incorporates:

Notable people

The current president and chief executive officer of TSRI is Michael Marletta, who took office on January 1, 2012. Marletta replaced Richard Lerner, who led the institute for 25 years and is still a member of the TSRI faculty.[14]

Among the 265 members of faculty are Nobel Laureates Gerald Edelman, K. Barry Sharpless, and Kurt Wüthrich, as well as many other notable chemists and biologists, including Dale L. Boger, Benjamin Cravatt III, Gerald F. Joyce, Roy A. Periana, William R. Roush, Paul Schimmel, Peter G. Schultz, Raymond C. Stevens, Charles Weissmann, Ian Wilson, Peter Wright, and John R. Yates.

Research rankings

The Scripps Research Institute was noted as a standout in the Science Watch survey of "high-impact" papers in chemistry published between 1997 and 2008, ranked number one worldwide by citations per paper.[15] Another measure of productivity, the Hirsch index (which has been published by Chemistry World), placed six TSRI scientists— Wüthrich, Sharpless, Lerner, Yates, Schultz, and Chi-Huey Wong—in the top 100 of 2,000 chemists rated. Recently Science Watch placed Sharpless and Valery V. Fokin within Top 10 list of its "Top 100 Chemists 2000-2010" based on citations impact; other faculty in the list were Carlos F. Barbas, and John R. Yates.[16]

Medical contributions

Medical therapies based on TSRI findings include:[17]


Kellogg School of Science and Technology

The graduate program at TSRI started in 1989 as the Macromolecular and Cellular Structure and Chemistry (MCSC) Program. A program in Chemistry followed three years after the establishment of the MCSC Program. In 2002, TSRI named its graduate program the Kellogg School of Science and Technology in honor of philanthropists Janet R. Kellogg and W. Keith Kellogg II. 2003 saw a redefinition of the Kellogg School curriculum that allowed students to sculpt course loads in myriad interdisciplinary manners. In 2005 TSRI's graduate program expanded to encompass the Jupiter, Florida campus.[18] In addition to its Ph.D. programs, TSRI offers a Master’s Degree in the discipline of Clinical and Translational Investigation (MCTI) for physician-scientists. The institute also administers the Skaggs-Oxford Scholarship program, which allows students to pursue a joint Ph.D./D.Phil. with the University of Oxford.

The most recent graduate school rankings by U.S. News & World Report places TSRI's program as 7th in chemistry (3rd in organic chemistry, 4th in biochemistry) and 7th in biological sciences.[19]

Medical schools

Florida Atlantic University started a new medical school in association with Scripps Florida, ending its relationship with the University of Miami's medical school. The first students entered the new program in fall 2011.[20] Previously, TSRI and the Scripps Health hospital network explored the idea of starting a medical school in California,[21] but this project did not come to fruition.

Outreach programs

The California and Florida campuses both offer educational outreach programs for high school students and undergraduates interested in learning more about science.

Scripps Florida

The Florida campus of TSRI operates a 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2) state-of-the-art biomedical research facility focusing on neuroscience, cancer biology, medicinal chemistry, drug discovery, biotechnology, and alternative energy development. Approximately 450 faculty, staff and students occupy TSRI's Florida campus. TSRI Florida is housed on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University.

The grand opening of the new facility took place on February 26, 2009, five years after Scripps Florida started operating, with a public ceremony that drew many dignitaries including then Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.


Grants and contracts provide funding for a significant portion of TSRI's research. This revenue is derived primarily from the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies. In addition, grantors include, among others, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Juvenile Diabetes Association.

Gifts from individuals and private foundations provide an important source of funding for TSRI. Private foundations that have provided support include the ALSAM Foundation, Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust, W.M. Keck Foundation, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Ellison Medical Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Harold L. Dorris Foundation.[22]

The establishment of the Scripps Florida campus was made possible by a one-time $310 million appropriation of federal economic development funds and by the Florida State Legislature and by an economic package provided by Palm Beach County.[23]


External links

  • Kellogg School of Science and Technology
  • Scripps Florida
  • Scripps introductory video
  • Scripps Research Institute Scientific Achievements
  • Scripps Energy & Materials Center

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