People often ask me what sets Scripps Research apart from other scientific institutes. It’s a seemingly simple question that is difficult to answer. There are many reasons why it is a special place and narrowing it down to just one or two can be a challenge.

The obvious place to start is with the science. Since our founding by Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, Scripps Research has set the standard for excellence in a number of research fields. This is evidenced by the steady stream of groundbreaking discoveries that emerge from the institute’s labs in chemistry, neuroscience, immunology and structural biology, to name a few. In the past few years, our scientists have been recognized with some of the world’s most prestigious prizes, including two Nobel Prizes, two Wolf Prizes in Chemistry and a Breakthrough Prize.

These accolades are emblematic of the quality of our science, but also a reflection of the institute’s unique culture. Our organizational ethos has long encouraged researchers to pursue unconventional ideas without restraint, facilitated by deep-seated collegiality that nurtures risk-taking and encourages the cross-disciplinary pollination of ideas. Rather than lauding incremental progress, we place a higher value on bold exploration that paves the way for transformative discoveries, fostering a community where camaraderie and innovation flourish in tandem. Through our graduate school, we pass on this mindset to future generations of scientific leaders.

Building upon this foundation of creativity and collaboration, our institute has established a remarkable track record in transforming groundbreaking scientific discoveries into life-changing medicines. Historically, the work of translating “basic” science discoveries into practical applications, such as medicines, was sometimes viewed as a less prestigious endeavor compared to the pursuit of pure knowledge and was often relegated to the industry sector. While the scientific community is progressively embracing the convergence of foundational and translational science, it’s noteworthy that Scripps Research was an early pioneer of this holistic approach.

The 15+ FDA-approved therapies enabled by discoveries made in our labs—from drugs for multiple sclerosis, cancer and heart disease to COVID-19 vaccines—are striking evidence for this, as are the many other medicines currently in clinical trials across multiple disease areas.

This centennial issue of Scripps Research Magazine celebrates our storied history, delving into the people, events and accomplishments that made us what we are today and paved the way for our next century of life-changing discovery.

scripps research magazine fall 2020 president peter schultz signature

Peter Schultz, PhD
President and CEO, Scripps Research