Scripps Research to Host Dec. 3 Kick-Off for Women in Science Education Program

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WISE Women Scientists Welcomed at Scripps Research in Jupiter

Institute to launch Women in Science Education (WISE) initiative to support graduate program fellowships with December 3 kick-off event at Scripps Research.

Innovation flourishes in a climate of diversity, and that’s the climate at Scripps Research, Florida, where women now number 39 out of the 72 students attending the institute’s internationally recognized graduate program, the Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences.

While women comprise only about one-third of the science workforce around the world, Florida’s Skaggs graduate program attracts women doctoral students at a rate of over 54 percent. To build that momentum, the institute’s Jupiter campus is launching an important initiative: Women in Science Education (WISE). For a limited time, a generous donor has offered a half-million-dollar match to enable a permanent graduate school educational endowment.

Scripps Research Florida plans to introduce its WISE program at an on-campus kick-off event on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, at 5:30 p.m. at its Jupiter campus. Complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be enjoyed by attendees, who will also be given an overview of the graduate program by Christoph Rader, PhD, associate dean of the graduate program in Florida. The event is free-of-charge and open to the public with advance registration. To register to attend the WISE kick-off or for further information, please visit www.Scripps.edu/WISE or call (561) 228-2015.

In the months that follow, the WISE Committee will hold a number of philanthropic events, including private dinners, a symposium aligned with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and a first-of-its-kind, family-friendly “science stroll” throughout the Scripps Research campus.

The Skaggs graduate program is small and specialized, widely recognized for its high quality. U.S. News and World Report has ranked it #2 in the nation for biochemistry, #5 for organic chemistry, #6 for chemistry overall and #10 for biological sciences.

Students work closely alongside faculty mentors, whose work is changing science and medicine. They include Microbiologist Hyeryun Choe,PhD, who studies why the Zika virus causes birth defects when a nearly identical virus, dengue, does not. She found an answer in placental cells, and is now working on new approaches to protect babies.

They also include Biochemist Laura Bohn, PhD, who studies how to create pain relievers with the efficacy of opioids but without the life-threatening side-effects, and Chemist Kate Carroll, PhD, who has discovered why pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancer types that doesn’t respond well to a powerful class of therapies called kinase inhibitors. She recently discovered the reason lies in a specific type of chemistry, and is now investigating methods to make those drugs work for thousands of cancer patients.

Scripps Research is focused on enabling more talented young women to pursue careers in science, according to Rader.

“The graduate program at Scripps Research is a magnet for young scientific talent,” Rader says. “It’s highly competitive—only 22 percent of more than 800 annual applicants are admitted—and highly popular, partly because the students know they’ll be working in our labs alongside our renowned scientists from day one. When they emerge with their doctoral degrees, they’ll be equipped with the education and training to make a positive impact on human health.”

The WISE committee comprises business leaders from throughout southern Florida. They are: Monique Brechter, former Executive Director of Development, Transmission at NextEra; Michele Jacobs, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County; Karen Marcus, former Palm Beach County Commissioner; Elaine Solomon, founder and co-chair of the PGA National Women’s Cancer Awareness Days, and Patti Travis, senior managing director of First Republic Bank.

In May of this year, the Skaggs Graduate School conferred doctoral degrees on its largest class in school history, 54 students. According to its statistics, 20 percent of the school’s graduates go on to earn tenure-track positions at major universities and research institutes and 33 percent pursue careers in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.

About Scripps Research:

A leading nonprofit biomedical research institute, Scripps Research is ranked No. 1 in the world by Nature Index for scientific innovation. U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks our graduate school in the top 10 in the United States. Our unique structure merges foundational studies in biology, chemistry and computer science with translational research to produce the next generation of drugs and advances in digital and precision medicine. On campuses in California and Florida, scientists in the institute’s five academic research departments work hand-in-hand with researchers of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and Calibr, our drug discovery division. We train the next generation of scientific leaders, expand the frontiers of human knowledge and accelerate the development of new medicines to improve lives around the planet. Charity Navigator has rated Scripps Research four stars, its highest rating. To learn more about Scripps Research, please visit www.scripps.edu. To register for or learn more about Scripps’ Florida campus events, please call (561) 228-2015 or visit www.scripps.edu/news-and-events.

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