Scripps Research Institute

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The Scripps Research Institute
Established 1993 (1993)
Faculty 265
Staff 2,700
Location San Diego, California
Jupiter, Florida

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is a nonprofit American medical research facility that focuses on research and education in the biomedical sciences. Headquartered in San Diego, California with a sister facility in Jupiter, Florida, the institute is home to 2,700 scientists, technicians, graduate students, and administrative and other staff, making it among the largest private, non-profit biomedical research organizations in the world.

Building B serves as the headquarters of TSRI's Florida campus.


TSRI's roots can be traced to the Scripps Metabolic Clinic, founded near the current site in the La Jolla area of San Diego in 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. In 1991, as the result of a merger of hospitals, the research branch became part of a larger organization, the Scripps Institutions of Medicine and Science. In 1993, the research division separated from the clinical side, 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.

Michael Marletta became president and CEO on January 1, 2012, assuming the position from Lerner, who remains a member of the TSRI faculty.[2] Marletta announced his resignation on July 21, 2014 and James C. Paulson was subsequently appointed acting president and CEO.

In September 2015, Peter G. Schultz was appointed CEO, and Steve A. Kay, president.[3] Kay announced he was returning to the University of Southern California in August 2016.[4]

In February 2017 venture capitalist John Diekman was named chairman of the board.[5]

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[edit]

Building C houses the departments of Neurobiology, Cancer Biology, and Infectious Disease at TSRI's Florida campus.

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, 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[edit]

Among the 265 members of faculty are Nobel Laureates K. Barry Sharpless, Kurt Wüthrich and Sydney Brenner (and previously the late Gerald Edelman), as well as many other notable chemists and biologists, including Phil S. Baran, Dale L. Boger, Joel N. Buxbaum, Benjamin Cravatt III, Gerald F. Joyce, Michael B. Oldstone, Roy A. Periana, William R. Roush, Paul Schimmel, Peter G. Schultz, Charles Weissmann, Ian Wilson, Peter Wright, John R. Yates, Chi-Huey Wong, and Jin-Quan Yu.

In addition to the Nobel Laureates, the TSRI faculty comprises numerous members of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Philosophical Society, as well as winners of the Wolf Prize in Chemistry and MacArthur Fellows Program ("genius grant").[18]

Research rankings[edit]

The Scripps Research Institute was noted as a standout in the Science Watch survey of "high-impact" papers in chemistry (1997 - 2008), ranked number one worldwide by citations per paper.[6]

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. Science Watch placed Sharpless within the Top 10 list of its "Top 100 Chemists 2000-2010" based on citations impact; other faculty in the list were the late Carlos F. Barbas and John R. Yates.[19]

In addition, a Thomson-Reuters's list of researchers ranked in the top one percent by citations in their field (2002 to 2012) included TSRI researchers Phil S. Baran (chemistry); the late Carlos F. Barbas (chemistry); Dennis Burton (microbiology); Jerold Chun (pharmacology and toxicology); Benjamin Cravatt III (biology and biochemistry); Pascal Poignard (microbiology); K. Barry Sharpless (chemistry); Eric Topol (clinical medicine); Ian Wilson (microbiology); Richard Wyatt (microbiology); and Jin-Quan Yu (chemistry).[20]

Medical contributions[edit]

Medical therapies based on TSRI findings include:[21]


The Scripps Research Institute's Graduate Program[edit]

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 2003, TSRI redefined the curriculum to allow and encourage students to sculpt course loads in an interdisciplinary manner. In 2005, TSRI's graduate program expanded to encompass the Jupiter, Florida campus. Today approximately 300 graduate students are enrolled in the program, which offers doctoral degrees in the chemical and biological sciences. 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 enables 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 (2nd in biochemistry, 6th in organic chemistry) and 9th in biological sciences.[22]

Medical schools[edit]

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.[23] Previously, TSRI and the Scripps Health hospital network explored the idea of starting a medical school in California,[24] but this project did not come to fruition.

Outreach programs[edit]

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

Scripps Florida[edit]

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. More than 600 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.[25][26]

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.[27]


  1. ^ a b jc. "Timeline". 
  2. ^ Robbins, Gary. "Chemistry 'genius' named head of Scripps Research". Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Scripps Research Institute Names Peter Schultz as CEO, Steve Kay as President
  4. ^ Bradley, Fikes (August 1, 2016). "Scripps Research president returns to USC". San Diego Union-Tribune. 
  5. ^ Meiling, Brittany (February 22, 2017). "TSRI Revamps Board, Adds Venture Capitalist John Diekman". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved 23 February 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c "Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology & Immunogen Discovery". 
  7. ^ "Scripps Center for Metabolomics and Mass Spectrometry - Home Page". 
  8. ^ dr (6 March 2015). "Dorris Neuroscience Center". 
  9. ^ kelly (6 March 2015). "Molecular Screening Center". 
  10. ^ kelly (6 March 2015). "IAVIs Neutralizing Antibody Center". 
  11. ^ "Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research". 
  12. ^ "Scripps Translational Science Institute". 
  13. ^ Scripps-Vanderbilt Human Chemical Sciences Institute Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at The Scripps Research Institute
  14. ^ kelly (6 March 2015). "The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology". 
  15. ^ Scripps Research Institute Graduate Program]
  16. ^ kelly (6 March 2015). "Translational Research Institute". 
  17. ^ kelly (6 March 2015). "The Worm Institute for Research and Medicine". 
  18. ^ "TSRI Faculty Honors and Awards". 
  19. ^ "2011 Sep/Oct - Chemistry, At the Highest Level - - Thomson Reuters". 2010-03-15. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  20. ^ "TSRI Faculty Members Rank Among 'Most Influential Scientific Minds'". 
  21. ^ "Scientific Achievements". 
  22. ^ "US News and World Reports rankings for Scripps Research Institute". US News and World Report. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  23. ^ Travis, Scott (January 20, 2010). "FAU to Offer Its Own Medical Degree". Florida Sun-Sentinel. 
  24. ^ Clark, Cheryl (March 25, 2008). "Scripps plans to start new medical school". San Diego Union-Tribune. 
  25. ^ Travis. "Facts at a Glance". 
  26. ^ TSRI Office of Philanthropy
  27. ^ dr (6 March 2015). "Facts-at-a-Glance". 

External links[edit]