A Distinguished Career in
Alumnus a leader in protein chemistry, amino acid sequencing and immunology by Kim Schomburg Nagorski ’89 He was soon being recruited by the Tony Hugli ’63 has enjoyed a long Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, and successful career in the field of scientific research. As a student, however, his vocational and in 1972, he accepted a position as the facility’s first protein chemist. “Scripps path looked quite different until Roy Turley started out with mainly M.D.s working on intervened. “Dr. Turley was one of the best experimental medicine,” Hugli explained. instructors I had in all of my academic “There were a lot of animal studies. I came career,” commented Hugli. “He was an in and started changing outstanding teacher.” that to molecular studies, He also recommended then protein. Scripps that Hugli continue then started bringing in his studies at graduate more Ph.D.s.” school instead of Hugli actually set becoming a high school up the very first protein teacher as planned. chemistry lab at Scripps, Shortly after and went on to “isolate receiving his degree and determine the amino in chemistry from acid sequence of the first Otterbein, Hugli proteins ever sequenced” was off to Indiana at the institute. For University (IU) the next 28 years, he Medical Center to Tony Hugli ’63 conducted research in study biochemistry. the immunology department and received (He and Judy Furay ’63 were married on a Sunday and Hugli started graduate school approximately 35 grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for these studies. that Monday.) In fact, for a period of 10 years, his grant He completed his doctorate at IU proposals were never turned down by the Bloomington in 1968 and was offered a NIH. Starting out as an assistant member post-doctoral fellowship at Rockefeller at Scripps, he moved through the ranks to University in New York City. During his become a full member. fellowship, he worked with two prominent Hugli’s work was being recognized researchers, Stanford Moore and William H. Stein, both of whom went on to around the world, and he was invited to speak at symposiums and international receive the Nobel Prize in 1972. According meetings throughout Europe and in to Hugli, his protein chemistry research Asia. Particularly memorable was a 1981 under these two scientists “launched my symposium held in China and sponsored career, because they were so prominent,” by the Chinese government. Hugli and and because he was learning new 11 other American scientists were invited technology.
| Ot t e r be i n To w e r s | Fall 2013
to share their research with their Chinese counterparts at the Shanghai Institute. “We enjoyed a three-week tour of China that we will never forget and that few were able to experience at that time,” he recalled. In 2000, Hugli left Scripps to move to Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies in La Jolla, where he could help younger scientists with their research while continuing his own. At the same time, he founded the company Cell Activation with three other scientists and began researching treatments for hemorrhagic shock. Today, while still at Torrey Pines, he is also developing skincare products for his own company, HealthAide, Inc. The products are based on the anti-inflammatory aspects of the compound aspartame. Hugli has been published more than 250 times in peer-reviewed science journals. He co-founded the journal, Protein Science, now a well-respected publication, and has served as editor or on the editorial board for a number of science journals. In addition, he has reviewed grant proposals for the NIH. He credits Otterbein with laying a solid foundation for his distinguished career. “My overall education was superb,” Hugli noted. When he started graduate school, “I was scared to death I couldn’t compete with the other students.” But thanks to the education he received at Otterbein, he excelled in graduate school and beyond. “Otterbein is the Midwest version of the Ivy Leagues,” he concluded. “It is that good. For undergraduate work, you can’t beat a small school.” •