FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 30, 2002
Robin Clark, Scripps (858) 784-8134
Chuck McFadden, UC, (510) 987-9193
Richard Lerner to receive UC presidential medal
Richard A. Lerner, M.D., president of the Scripps Research
Institute in La Jolla, will receive the University of California
Presidential Medal on Friday, May 31. The medal is the highest
award the university can bestow.
Lerner will receive the medal from UC President Richard C.
Atkinson at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering
Sixth Annual Recognition Banquet.
Gov. Gray Davis in July 2000 appointed Lerner chairman of
the panel of distinguished scientists that selected the newly
established UC-based California Institutes for Science and
Innovation from among competing campus proposals.
The governor announced his intention to establish the institutes
in December 2000, with the aim of producing scientific advances
in fields critical to the future of the California economy.
The institutes are also intended to play an important role
in training a new generation of scientists and engineers and
in stimulating the creation of new businesses and jobs for
The UC Presidential Medal was established to recognize "extraordinary
contributions to the University of California or the community
of learning." Previous recipients include former Gov.
George Deukmejian, UC President Emeritus Clark Kerr and former
Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon.
Lerner's 30-year scientific career encompasses a broad scope
of seemingly disparate activities in biomedical research,
ranging from insights into protein structure to identification
of a sleep-inducing lipid.
His most recent work, and that for which he is perhaps best
known, involves groundbreaking discoveries of converting antibodies
into enzymes, permitting the catalysis of chemical reactions
considered impossible to achieve by classical chemical procedures.
The work has resulted in the possibility of producing antibodies
overnight for obtaining an almost limitless variety of products
-- beyond natural ones -- with an efficiency that may exceed
that of natural enzymes.
As president of the Scripps Research Institute, Lerner heads
the nation's largest private, non-profit biomedical research
institute. Scripps is noted for its particular strength at
the border between chemistry and biology. Lerner has also
been a pioneer in the formation of large-scale industry/university
Lerner has been widely recognized by numerous scientific
societies and organizations in the United States and abroad.
In 1985, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences. He has been a member of the National
Academy of Sciences since 1991. Gov. Davis named Lerner to
the Governor's Council on Bioscience in 1999 and in the same
year he was appointed to the U.S. Department of Energy's Biological
and Environmental Science Research Advisory Committee.
He was graduated from Northwestern University and Stanford
University medical school, interning at Palo Alto Stanford
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