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Carlos F. Barbas III, the Janet and Keith Kellogg II Chair professor and member of The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), died June 24, 2014, after a battle with a rare form of medullary thyroid cancer. He was 49. "I extend my deepest condolences to Carlos's family," said Michael Marletta, President and CEO of TSRI. "He was a creative scientist who tackled broad-ranging and important biomedical questions to lay the foundation for new therapies. He was admired and loved by his many friends on our campus. We will miss him greatly." Carlos was born on November 5, 1964, and grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. He majored in chemistry at Eckerd College, earned a PhD with TSRI Professor Chi-Huey Wong (then at Texas A&M) in 1989 and conducted postdoctoral studies at Pennsylvania State University and at Scripps, where he worked with Institute Professor Richard Lerner (then the director of the research branch of Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation). Carlos joined the TSRI faculty in 1991, where he conducted studies focused on the development of new therapeutic approaches to human diseases through studies at the interface of synthetic organic chemistry, molecular biology and medicine. Dale Boger, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Richard and Alice Cramer, Professor and member of the Skaggs Institute at TSRI, added, "Carlos was a cherished friend to all, a true pioneer in his science, a treasured colleague, and devoted to his family and children. He enriched our lives in so many ways, on so many levels and on so many different occasions that no words can adequately express our feelings of loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family." Phil Baran, Darlene Shiley Chair in Chemistry at TSRI, noted, "Carlos's memory and legacy will live on at Scripps forever. His incredible list of accomplishments (academic and entrepreneurial) at such a young age could have only been possible here in this unique and magical environment, a fact he often repeated. Carlos loved to tell jokes, to prank his friends, host legendary parties, race fast cars, go to the gym and, most of all, to spend time with his family. To his friends he was fiercely loyal, a shoulder to cry on and someone you could confide in. He had so much to live for and lived life to the fullest when he could." Some of his accomplishments include developing the first human antibody phage libraries, creating the first synthetic antibodies, developing the first artificial transcription factors capable of regulating endogenous genes, and pioneering chemically programmed antibodies. Each of these approaches has resulted in a new drug class that is currently in clinical trials or approved for the treatment of a variety of diseases. To translate his research into new therapies, Carlos founded three companies. In 1997, he co-founded Prolifaron, which was acquired by Alexion. In 2002, he started Cov-X, which was acquired by Pfizer. In 2008, he founded Zynegenia to develop the next generation of antibody-derived drugs. Carlos received national and international recognition for his work. He was the recipient of the Investigator Award from the Cancer Research Institute, the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's Pioneer Award and the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. He was named a scholar of The American Foundation for AIDS Research and a fellow of the American Associate for the Advancement of Science. In 2014, Carlos was named a fellow of the Academy of Microbiology. He was an author on more than 330 scientific articles and was a named inventor on 58 issued U.S. patents. In a 2009 profile for his alma mater, Eckerd College, Carlos reflected on his decision to become a researcher. "It's better than I envisioned. I didn't realize when I was studying science all the other opportunities it gives you to see the world. I have a very interesting kind of job that includes traveling the world to give talks. Things that I've worked on are being tested on people, and at some point, there will probably be someone in my family or someone I know who benefits directly." In another interview he said, "It has been a dream of mine to develop drugs that make a difference." Carlos is survived by his wife, Annica; children, Derek, Sabrina, Sixten and Viggo; mother, Joanna; and sister, Maureen. A private Memorial Celebration will be held in La Jolla.
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