Organization will focus on drug discovery, personalized medicine, and metabolomics.

The Scripps Research Institute and Vanderbilt University have established the Human Chemical Sciences Institute to advance science at the interface of chemistry and medicine. Special emphasis will be devoted to the areas of drug discovery, personalized medicine, and metabolomics. Within metabolomics the focus will be on the study of small molecule metabolites that could lead to diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers.

The Human Chemical Sciences Institute will encompass research and training activities at Scripps Research on its San Diego and Jupiter, FL, campuses, and at the Vanderbilt Institute for Chemical Biology (VICB) and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, TN. It will combine Scripps Research’s expertise in synthetic and bioorganic chemistry and Vanderbilt’s background in drug discovery, genomics, bioinformatics, and medical systems innovation. Seed funding from both Scripps Research and Vanderbilt will be used to promote cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary research partnerships that capitalize upon these strengths.

“The chemical sciences provide the basis for current understanding of human physiology, pharmacology, and drug discovery,” says Scripps Research president, Richard A. Lerner, M.D. “Yet there remains a gulf between academic research in chemistry and medical practice. The time is right for a new initiative that seeks to accelerate the understanding of human chemistry in health and disease.”

Jeffrey Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, adds, “The goal of the Human Chemical Sciences Institute is to impact medical care through a chemistry-focused view of the human metabolic state, disease, and the effects of treatment.”

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