Stress, Pleasure and Social Connection: How the Brain Reacts to Emotion to Shape Behavior
January 23, 2020
Fear, aggression, pleasure, stress. How we are feeling shapes our behavior in surprising ways. At Scripps Research, Professor Lisa Stowers, PhD, is exploring one of the biggest mysteries of neuroscience—how the brain creates and responds to emotions—with a special focus on how stress and pleasure alter our social interactions. Stowers is in the midst of a major research project, supported by the National Institutes of Health’s BRAIN Initiative, to create the first-ever model of a complete brain circuit for social behavior. The resulting knowledge will hold unquestionable value for the scientific community and fuel additional discovery that will benefit human health, much like the first genome sequence did.
Advancing Precision Medicines to Stop Cancer, ALS, Muscular Dystrophy and More
October 17, 2019
Nearly all drugs work by attaching themselves to proteins. But not every protein can be touched with a drug. For over a decade, Scripps Research Professor Matthew Disney, PhD, has focused exclusively on developing approaches to target RNA with small molecules, rather than the usual protein targets. In his Front Row Lecture, Disney described how he developed a computational approach to identifying druggable RNAs, and how he built small molecules to target them via genetic sequence-based design. His platform technologies for healing disease through a focus on altering RNA have opened new potential disease-modifying precision therapies in areas of unmet medical need. These include cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, muscular dystrophy, viral diseases and much more.
Outsmarting Outbreaks: Using Genomics to Track Viruses
August 15, 2019
In recent years, new and emerging diseases such as West Nile, Ebola and Zika have caught national and international responders off guard. In an increasingly interconnected world, improving disease detection, surveillance and diagnostics tools is critical to preventing global pandemics.
In his Front Row lecture, Kristian Andersen discussed how he, with a global network of collaborators, applies a ‘team science’ approach to deciphering outbreaks. His highly cross-disciplinary work combines next-generation sequencing, computational biology, experimentation and field work to investigate how viruses emerge and cause large-scale outbreaks.
By diving deep into virus genomes, Andersen and colleagues aim to transform the way local, national and international officials are able to respond to outbreaks.
Forging the Future of Biomedical Innovation
June 13, 2019
Preventing malaria, a global health threat
Throughout his productive career, Arnab Chatterjee has employed ingenuity and experience to develop novel therapeutics for respiratory and infectious diseases, neurological conditions, regenerative medicine, fibrosis and cancer. He and his teams at the Calibr-Skaggs Institute for Innovative Medicines have created eight preclinical drug candidates to date, with three currently in clinical trials.
Regenerative medicine for osteoarthritis
Kristen Johnson leads a team of scientists who envision, create and execute high-throughput screening assays to identify molecules with the potential to modify human diseases. Her team focuses on harnessing the immune system to create new potential therapeutics for patients with cancer, neurodegeneration and autoimmune diseases. Johnson and her team are also unraveling the mechanisms behind a new class of drugs that target RNA instead of proteins to potentially design medicines for previously “undruggable” diseases.
Harnessing immunity to treat cancer
Immuno-oncology, an innovative field that harnesses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, is where Travis Young is making great inroads. He and his team at Calibr have developed a novel approach to gene therapy for cancer based on a promising treatment known as CAR T-cell therapy. In this treatment, a patient’s immune cells are removed, genetically engineered to attack cancer cells, and returned to the patient’s body where they eliminate cancerous cells. Young’s team has made significant improvements to the safety and versatility of this therapy by creating a “remote control” for the cells. They’ve done this by designing an adapter molecule, or “switch,” that allows the cells to be turned on or off at will. Young’s team expects to test this remote-controlled CAR T-cell in lymphoma patients by the end of the year, but the approach may have a much broader impact in establishing a universal treatment that can be applied to nearly any tumor.
High Performance Medicine
April 18, 2019
A pioneer of individualized medicine and author of the recently released Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again, Eric Topol merges genomic and digital technologies with artificial intelligence to advance a new era of High Performance Medicine. In a talk that is bound to keep you at the edge of your seat, Topol will give us a glimpse of the future, helping us understand the promise and expose the pitfalls of artificial intelligence in medicine.
Topol is the founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and executive vice president at Scripps Research.
The Force is With You: Molecules That Sense the Pressure of Touch, Pain, Blood Flow and More
November 8, 2018
How do you feel a gentle breeze or the pain of sunburn? For decades, scientists have known about the molecules that allow us to see, smell and taste. Yet the molecules that let us sense touch and pain have remained mysterious—until recently. Ardem Patapoutian’s lab at Scripps Research has recently discovered our bodies’ sensors of touch and pain.
In his Front Row Lecture, Patapoutian shed light on the senses and the unique proteins that let our sensory neurons perceive the outside world. This work represents a fundamental insight into our basic biology and has therapeutic implications for dealing with pain and conditions that range from cardiovascular disease to malaria.
Building New Bridges to Individualized Medicine
September 13, 2018
Scripps Research has an impressive track record of identifying new drugs and biologics to improve health. Now we have embarked on a mission to link your personal genome and health measurements to your disease risk.
In the second lecture of the new Front Row Lecture Series, Professor Kristin Baldwin, PhD, aims to accelerate the personalization of drug discovery by turning genomic health discoveries into “disease in a dish” models. These models include what she calls “designer” cell types that mimic what is seen in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Her work gives scientists new tools to rapidly identify therapeutic targets and screen promising drugs. In her Front Row Lecture, Baldwin provided an overview of this dynamic new approach to medicine and highlight recent discoveries from her lab.
Reinventing the Biomedical Research Institute
May 31, 2018
Our understanding of human disease at the molecular level has grown enormously in the past 25 years, yet we still face major challenges in finding effective treatments and cures for many diseases that impact public health and the quality of life. How can biomedical research institutes bridge this gap and speed the development of innovative new medicines?
In the first lecture of the new Front Row Lecture Series, Peter Schultz, PhD, a pioneering chemist and the president and CEO of Scripps Research, addressed these questions and shared his vision for transforming biomedical research. From his unique position, Dr. Schultz has brought together scientists from diverse backgrounds to build a new model at Scripps Research to tackle this challenge. He shared with attendees the impact that this effort is starting to have on degenerative diseases of aging, cancer, inflammatory diseases and childhood and neglected diseases, and how this model can change the way nonprofit research institutes work with the commercial sector to develop new medicines.