The raison d’être of science is the quest to discover—the pursuit of moments when rigorous inquiry leads to profound insight. The engine of this pursuit is a characteristic common to scientists the world over—insatiable curiosity. When I consider the many scientists I have known and admired, however, another trait strikes me as equally important. That is the desire and ability to connect what they do with the world outside of the laboratory.
In this issue of Scripps Research Magazine, you will encounter stories of scientists doing just that, engaging with people, places and problems far beyond our campuses in California and Florida. They do this in pursuit of knowledge, certainly, but also to better the lives of people around the world. They are driven by both curiosity of mind and generosity of spirit.
You’ll read how Kristian Andersen, PhD, and his team travel to Sierra Leone to study one of the world’s most virulent diseases, Lassa fever, using advanced genomic sequencing techniques to track how the virus evolves and spreads. Their work in genomic epidemiology combines field and laboratory research to develop powerful ways to track and predict the movements of viruses such as Lassa, Zika, Ebola and West Nile.
While Kristian and his team travel to other parts of the world, Ben Shen, PhD, has brought the world to Scripps Research. Through a partnership with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Ben’s team has established on our Florida campus one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of microbial organisms from all over the planet. The samples were collected by scientists over 75 years and likely contain millions of unknown compounds with untold capabilities for generating new medicines.
This issue also profiles Pam Garzone, PhD, who recently joined Scripps Research as the inaugural chief medical officer at Calibr, our drug development division. As we accelerate our efforts to turn discoveries into therapies, Pam brings deep experience in translational research and clinical development to advance Calibr’s growing pipeline of drug candidates. These therapies have the potential to address unmet medical needs the world over.
Through these stories, I hope you will come to appreciate as I do, the global, interconnected nature of Scripps Research science and how those connections hold tremendous potential for helping humankind.
Peter Schultz, PhD
President and CEO, Scripps Research