Scripps taps Berkeley chemist to replace Lerner at the helm

UC Berkeley chemistry whiz Michael Marletta is grabbing the helm at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. Marletta, a past winner of the MacArthur Fellowship, has done groundbreaking work on nitric oxide, which plays a critical role in cell communication.

Marletta has also been directly engaged in drug development work. His research on antibodies helped lead to the rheumatoid arthritis drug adalimumab.

"Scripps is a unique institution which, like my own work, focuses on biomedical research," said Marletta, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I was in a broad-based department at Berkeley which didn't have that same focus. We like to make great discoveries and to have them become applicable to human health, and to justify the support we get from taxpayers."

For the past quarter century, Scripps has been led by Richard Lerner, who helped build the institute's global reputation in biomedical research. During that time, Scripps steadily expanded and now garners more than $330 million a year in research money. Lerner will stay on after Marletta steps into the post and plans to continue his own research efforts. He explained that after 25 years at the top, he thought it was time to "spend more time with my experiments."

- read the Scripps release
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