Scripps Research awards doctoral degrees to class of 2020, celebrates graduates’ diverse scientific accomplishments

LA JOLLA, CA and JUPITER, FL — Scripps Research today awarded doctoral degrees to 44 graduate students who completed the rigorous academic and research requirements of the institute’s Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences. The degree recipients comprise the 28th graduating class of Scripps Research’s graduate program.

In lieu of the traditional annual commencement ceremony on the La Jolla campus, a virtual celebration for the class of 2020 will be held in July in consideration of public health restrictions imposed in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We congratulate all of our 2020 graduates on their spectacular journey at Scripps Research, where each of them contributed their boundless energy and passion to expand scientific knowledge and ultimately, improve human health,” said Phil Dawson, PhD, dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies at Scripps Research, and a professor in the Department of Chemistry. “Even though we are unable to celebrate our graduates in person this year, it’s gratifying to know that so many of these outstanding young scientists are already hard at work investigating potential causes of and treatments for COVID-19 and other diseases that afflict so many.”

In addition to the online graduation event this summer, the Skaggs Graduate School will feature profiles of its graduates in a “virtual commencement walk” to appear on the Scripps Research website and social media channels in coming months. The goal is to engage the greater community in the graduates’ diverse areas of biomedical research and career aspirations.

Ranked among the top 10 doctoral programs of its kind in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, the Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences at Scripps Research offers training in chemistry, chemical biology, neuroscience, immunology, cell biology and other biomedical research areas.

The program immerses students in intensive laboratory research while offering a customizable course curriculum that allows students to match individual research interests while exploring multidisciplinary topics at the interface of chemistry and biology.


Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences
2020 Graduating Class
Student Advisor
Gabriel Brighty Jeffery W. Kelly, PhD
Jacob Bruggemann Andrew I. Su, PhD
Mei Lan Chen Mark S. Sundrud, PhD
Yanqiao Chen Jin-Quan Yu, PhD
Wesley Cochrane Brian M. Paegel, PhD
Matthew Costales Matthew D. Disney, PhD
Christopher Cottrell Andrew B. Ward, PhD
Robert Demoret Ryan A. Shenvi, PhD
Yisong Deng James R. Williamson, PhD
Joseph Derosa Keary M. Engle, PhD
Vivian Dien Floyd E. Romesberg, PhD; Peter G. Schultz, PhD
Chad Dufaud Michael G. McHeyzer-Williams, PhD
Emil Fischer Floyd E. Romesberg, PhD; Christoph Rader, PhD
Samantha Green Ryan A. Shenvi, PhD
David Hill Donna G. Blackmond, PhD
Taka-Aki Ichu Benjamin F. Cravatt, PhD
Margarete Johnson Wendy L. Havran, PhD
Yuzuru Kanda Phil S. Baran, PhD
Murat Kilinc Gavin R. Rumbaugh, PhD
Liam King Erica Ollmann Saphire, PhD
Tong Shu Li Andrew I. Su, PhD
Zhen Liu Keary M. Engle, PhD
Gencheng Li K. Barry Sharpless, PhD
Michael Mayers Andrew I. Su, PhD
Joseph McGraw Wendy L. Havran, PhD; Linda A. Sherman, PhD
Bartek Nogal Andrew B. Ward, PhD
Hojoon Park Jin-Quan Yu, PhD
Ryan Paxman Jeffery W. Kelly, PhD
Colby Sandate Gabriel C. Lander, PhD
Sergey Shnitkind Peter E. Wright, PhD
Vyom Shukla Dale L. Boger, PhD
Sierra Simpson Olivier George, PhD
Keita Tanaka Jin Quan Yu, PhD
Ryan Thompson Andrew I. Su, PhD
Megan Vaughan Katja A. Lamia, PhD
Pritha Verma Jin-Quan Yu, PhD
Mengyu Wu Andrew B. Ward, PhD
Yao Xiao Ian MacRae, PhD
Janice Xu Dennis W. Wolan, PhD
Ke Yang Peter E. Wright, PhD
Anzhi Yao Peter G. Schultz, PhD
Ai Zhang  Jeanne F. Loring, PhD
Yorke Zhang Floyd E. Romesberg, PhD; Brian M. Paegel, PhD
Qinheng Zheng K. Barry Sharpless, PhD