The Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences at Scripps Research supports some of the best and the brightest students from across the globe on their quest to transform human health. As the 2022 class takes the next step in their careers, the new graduates look back on influential experiences and ahead toward an exciting future. 

Alexander Amatumi

“I will be joining Eisai Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., as a scientist in precision chemistry, working on the design, synthesis and medicinal chemistry of novel therapeutics for neurodegenerative conditions. I hope to gain deep expertise in this area of research and make important contributions to the understanding and treatment of currently intractable neurological diseases.” 

– Alexander Amatuni | Renata laboratory

“At Scripps Research, I discovered my passion for chemoproteomic-enabled drug discovery and will be forever grateful for the wonderful opportunities, memories and support from my advisor, wife, colleagues, collaborators, family and friends.” 

– Brendan Dwyer | Adibekian laboratory

“When I look back on my graduate school time at Scripps Research, I smile and think of all the great memories. This is mostly due to my PhD advisor, Dr. Christoph Rader, and my fellow lab mates. The amount of daily support, laughs and encouragement made it a truly positive experience, along with thoroughly preparing me to transition into industry.” 

– Rebecca Goydel | Rader laboratory
Frenchman’s Creek Women for Cancer
Research Fellowship, Klorfine Foundation Fellowship 

“I felt so lucky meeting so many great scientists and mentors at Scripps Research. I’m currently working at Neurocrine Biosciences as a medicinal chemist to advance medicines for neurological, endocrine, and psychiatric disorders.” 

– Jieyu Gu | Baran laboratory 

“The best part of my experience at Scripps Research was working in a diverse, warm and supportive community. Surrounded by intelligent and selfless people here, I am grateful for all the help, advice and encouragement that made me a better person.”

– Haina Huang | Karbstein laboratory
Farris Foundation Fellow 

“One of the best aspects of my time as a grad student was being surrounded by a lot of talented and knowledgeable people that were always willing to share what they knew. Thanks to them, I became a better scientist.” 

– Sebastián Jojoa Cruz | Ward laboratory 

Another top ten ranking 

The Skaggs Graduate School is again ranked among the top ten graduate programs in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Ever since first climbing to these ranks in 1999, the school has continually maintained its position among the nation’s elite graduate programs. According to the report, released in March 2022, the school’s chemistry program ranks 6th in the nation and the biological sciences program ranks 9th, up one place from the previous ranking. Widely recognized for its rigorous standards, the Skaggs Graduate School helps students to become ideally positioned to address major biomedical challenges and pursue careers in science that can make a lasting impact. 

“Thank you to my graduate committee, my lab and my friends from the lab for helping me find the discipline of ‘making your own luck through hard work’ and the confidence to trust your own intellectual curiosity, wherever it may lead you. These foundational blocks continue to serve me well as I pursue research in other fields.” 

Emma King-Smith | Renata laboratory 
Scheller Graduate Student Fellow 

“The best thing about my graduate school experience was the support I received from multiple angles. From my advisor to my committee, the graduate office, collaborators on projects, fellow graduate students and other scientists at Scripps Research, I was constantly surrounded by people who contributed in some way—scientifically, administratively, or socially—to my success.” 

Oluwarotimi (Rotimi) Omorodion | Wilson laboratory 

“I accepted a science writer position with Rose Li & Associates in the Washington, DC, area. I am most excited to experience science from a different lens! In the next few years, I plan to explore other applications of science that include consulting, patent law and public policy.” 

John Martin Gabriel Sabandal | Davis laboratory
Frank J. Dixon Graduate Fellow 

“At Scripps Research, I got to work with a group of highly motivated, talented and passionate people. Both of my projects were a challenging invitation to learn more than I knew was possible and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be in this program.” 

Sophie Shevick | Shenvi laboratory
ARCS Scholar, Turner B. and Lesly Shelton Award 

“Looking back on my time in graduate school, I appreciate how the do-it-yourself approach of the McHeyzer-Williams group enabled our lab to develop a bespoke approach to single-cell genomics, which we applied to uncover lots of interesting germinal center immunology. I also appreciate all the really fantastic people I met along the way and how close Scripps Research is to some solid surf breaks.” 

Andrew Shuparski | McHeyzer-Williams laboratory
Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellow 

“I would have never imagined that when I started my PhD planning to work on HIV vaccines, that I would spend half of my time here studying a brand-new virus, SARS- CoV-2. I felt really fortunate to get into the fields of immunology and virology, and got such great support from my supervisors, with so many opportunities for collaborations with top-tier labs around the world.” 

Ge (Sophie) Song | Burton laboratory