A comment on my first post asked about what it’s like to be a student at TSRI Florida. The Florida campus houses the Translational Research Institute, which integrates the high-throughput screening robot, the cell-based screening core, and the medicinal chemistry group. Other departments include infectious diseases, cancer biology, neuroscience, molecular therapeutics (my department!), metabolism and aging, and chemistry.
I was really impressed by the interdisciplinary focus of Scripps. Many institutions claim to offer an interdisciplinary focus, but it is a central tenet of TSRI. Our group’s lab is located next to the medicinal chemistry area. Several of our group’s recent papers are due to the relationship we maintain with the medicinal chemists. For example, when I took my candidacy exam, I proposed to use a novel compound developed at Scripps Florida. I had no idea why this molecule was selective for the ROR proteins we study over the LXR proteins, which bind the original scaffold molecule. I tracked down the person who originally synthesized the compound. We spent ~30 minutes discussing the synthesis and which regions of the molecule conferred selectivity for RORs over LXRs. Just having that opportunity is one of the reasons I love the graduate program at Scripps.
One of the most innovative aspects of the graduate program is the distance learning software. Because the graduate program is located on both campuses, the institute decided to not teach the same classes on both campuses. When a biology class is taught in La Jolla, there is a live video stream to the Jupiter campus. Students are able to participate in real-time, because there are microphones in the ceiling that allow students to ask questions and cameras so the professor and students can see each other. The course offerings at the Florida campus are expanding, so more students in La Jolla will participate in courses broadcast from the Jupiter campus. All courses are recorded and available online through the library, so you can review the videos at exam time.
Outside of the lab and classroom, there are plenty of other activities on campus. We have a student leadership committee, a Network for Women in Science group, education outreach opportunities (panel discussions with high school students, chemistry demos at local schools, etc), and access to beach volleyball, soccer, basketball, and tennis facilities. There’s a city park with racquetball close to campus, the beach is only 5 miles away, and there are sidewalks everywhere allowing for running and bicycling outdoors. If you prefer to exercise indoors, the graduate program will reimburse the cost of a membership at LA Fitness.
I hope this gives everyone an idea about life on the TSRI Florida campus. In my next post, I’d like to discuss the start of my search for postdoctoral positions.