November 10, 2006

Salk Institute President Richard A. Murphy Announces His Retirement

Salk News

Salk Institute President Richard A. Murphy Announces His Retirement

La Jolla, CA – The Salk Institute for Biological Studies today announced that Dr. Richard Murphy will retire from his position of President and CEO on July 1, 2007. Murphy, 62, has served in this capacity since Oct. 1, 2000. Murphy made his announcement at the Nov. 10 meeting of the Salk Institute’s Board of Trustees.

President Richard A. Murphy

“It has been a privilege for me to work with everyone in the Salk community for the past six years. Salk faculty and trainees are doing extraordinary research for the benefit of humanity,” Murphy said. “It has also been a great pleasure to work with Salk’s Board of Trustees, led by retiring Chairman Jerry Kohlberg, and with the many donors who support Salk’s mission of basic research. I will miss them and the San Diego community very much. The Salk is well positioned for breakthrough research over the coming years, and I wish everyone at the Institute the greatest success in their work.”

Kohlberg thanked Murphy for his contributions to the Institute. “Rich Murphy is an outstanding leader who has worked tirelessly for the Institute and its scientists. I and the other trustees have enjoyed working with him immensely,” he said. “Rich strengthened the Institute’s scientific programs and administrative services, built an outstanding Board of Trustees, and increased the visibility and reach of the Institute locally, nationally, and internationally. He and his wife, Elaine, who has enthusiastically engaged in Salk’s outreach activities, will leave a legacy of major contributions to the Salk Institute.”

During Murphy’s tenure, the Institute carried out two strategic planning exercises, the first of which, completed in 2002, resulted in the Salk’s renovation of nearly a third of its research space and hiring 16 new young investigators to strengthen its cancer, plant biology, and gene regulation research programs.

The Institute also established new research groups in chemistry and computational and theoretical biology, and core facilities for mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic imaging, and stem cell research. The labs were established on $160 million in philanthropic funds raised during Murphy’s term.

The Institute also revamped its Board of Trustees by appointing 23 new members to a Board of 35, and increasing representation from San Diego and around the world. Murphy and Kohlberg also recruited QUALCOMM founder Dr. Irwin Jacobs to become the next Chairman of the Board of Trustees. A Master Planning exercise initiated by Murphy and nearing final approval by the City of San Diego will allow the Institute to build facilities that will effectively double its research space. The new scientific strategic plan calls for the development of new programs in biophotonics, stem cell biology, immunology, metabolic diseases, and aging.

Murphy serves on the Boards of San Diego’s Connect and the Economic Development Corporation, and is a member of the Board of the California Healthcare Institute. In 2004, he was appointed to the Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which is responsible for distributing Proposition 71 funds to stem cell research programs across the state. Murphy has indicated that he and his wife plan to return to the East Coast to be closer to their children and grandchild.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental discoveries in the life sciences, the improvement of human health and the training of future generations of researchers. Jonas Salk, M.D., whose polio vaccine all but eradicated the crippling disease poliomyelitis in 1955, opened the Institute in 1965 with a gift of land from the City of San Diego and the financial support of the March of Dimes.

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