ASBMB: Scripps gets most of its money from the NIH, which has been experiencing ongoing pressure to cut its budget. How do you think this will affect Scripps’ future research efforts?
Marletta: This is a national issue. I don’t deny the potential effect of reduced federal grant support on an institution like Scripps could be significant. The Scripps faculty members have proven themselves to be resilient. That resilience coupled with their drive and zeal for science will carry us a long way. We must diversify and broaden our support base and with success in this, Scripps’ future research efforts will proceed unabated.
ASBMB: During his time as president, Richard Lerner tripled the size of the institute and currently is able to pull in more than $330 million a year for research. Is it intimidating to fill such big shoes?
Marletta: Actually, I was at Scripps last week, and I mentioned this question to Richard. He told me he wears a size 9.5. I wear a size 10, so it seems it’s more his problem than mine. Seriously, the bulk of the value you mentioned includes outside grant support. As I mentioned above, securing Scripps’ future via philanthropy is the goal. With those resources, the next generation of biomedical scholars will come and make the kinds of discoveries expected of Scripps.
Nicole Kresge (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the editor of ASBMB Today.