About us

Learn how Sanford Burnham Prebys' innovative research leads to medical discoveries and drug therapies that benefit patients.
scientists at work

Leading the way

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute has deep expertise in fundamental biologyand one of the most comprehensive drug discovery centers in the nonprofit world that accelerates the translation of our discoveries toward patient benefit.

Our mission

We conduct world-class collaborative research dedicated to finding cures for human disease, improving quality of life, and educating and training the next-generation of scientists, thus creating a legacy for its employees, partners, donors and community.

Who we are

  • Sanford Burnham Prebys discoveries begin with our people – scientists, postdoctoral candidates, graduate students and support staff – who work collaboratively toward understanding the cause of disease and identifying new therapeutic approaches to improve human health.

  • As an independent, nonprofit institution, we focus on conducting biomedical research in cancer, neuroscience, immunolgy and rare children’s diseases.

  • The Institute is home to one of the most comprehensive drug discovery centers in the nonprofit world.

  • Our innovative approach to research underpins our strategic partnerships with the biotech and pharmaceutical industry.

  • We cultivate the next generation of biomedical scientists through our graduate and postdoctoral training programs.

Sanford Burnham Prebys employs more than 700 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), CA. We are widely recognized for our NCI-designated Cancer Center, the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics and the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center.

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Our approach to improving human health is built on three principles

Fundamental research

Our track record of pioneering research spans more than 40 years, and has produced breakthrough discoveries in cancer, neuroscience, immunology and rare children's diseases.

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Translational research

We operate one of the most advanced drug discovery centers in the world that leverages biomedical discoveries to develop prototype drugs.

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Education and training

We are committed to education and training the next generation of scientific leaders to ensure our legacy continues.

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Years of pioneering research


Patents issued to date


Startup companies


Clinical trials underway


FDA-approved treatments and tests


Recurrent non-coding U1-snRNA mutations drive cryptic splicing in Shh medulloblastoma.

Suzuki H, Kumar SA, Shuai S, Diaz-Navarro A, Gutierrez-Fernandez A, De Antonellis P, Cavalli FMG, Juraschka K, Farooq H, Shibahara I, Vladoiu MC, Zhang J, Abeysundara N, Przelicki D, Skowron P, Gauer N, Luu B, Daniels C, Wu X, Forget A, Momin A, Wang J, Dong W, Kim SK, Grajkowska WA, Jouvet A, Fèvre-Montange M, Garrè ML, Rao AAN, Giannini C, Kros JM, French PJ, Jabado N, Ng HK, Poon WS, Eberhart CG, Pollack IF, Olson JM, Weiss WA, Kumabe T, López-Aguilar E, Lach B, Massimino M, Van Meir EG, Rubin JB, Vibhakar R, Chambless LB, Kijima N, Klekner A, Bognár L, Chan JA, Faria CC, Ragoussis J, Pfister SM, Goldenberg A, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Bailey SD, Garzia L, Morrissy AS, Marra MA, Huang X, Malkin D, Ayrault O, Ramaswamy V, Puente XS, Calarco JA, Stein L, Taylor MD

Nature 2019 Oct 9 ;

Loss of the FOXP1 Transcription Factor Leads to Deregulation of B Lymphocyte Development and Function at Multiple Stages.

Dekker JD, Baracho GV, Zhu Z, Ippolito GC, Schmitz RJ, Rickert RC, Tucker HO

Immunohorizons 2019 Oct 7 ;3(10):447-462

Time course of blood and brain cytokine/chemokine levels following adolescent alcohol exposure and withdrawal in rats.

Sanchez-Alavez M, Nguyen W, Mori S, Wills DN, Otero D, Aguirre CA, Singh M, Ehlers CL, Conti B

Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2019 Oct 7 ;

Endurance training remodels skeletal muscle phospholipid composition and increases intrinsic mitochondrial respiration in men with type 2 diabetes.

Pino MF, Stephens NA, Eroshkin AM, Yi F, Hodges A, Cornnell HH, Pratley RE, Smith SR, Wang M, Han X, Coen PM, Goodpaster BH, Sparks LM

Physiol Genomics 2019 Oct 7 ;

Absence of HIF1A leads to glycogen accumulation and an inflammatory response that enables pancreatic tumor growth.

Maruggi M, Layng FIAL, Lemos R, Garcia G, James BP, Sevilla M, Soldevila F, Baaten BJG, de Jong PR, Koh MY, Powis G

Cancer Res 2019 Oct 4 ;

Bioremediation of a Common Product of Food Processing by a Human Gut Bacterium.

Wolf AR, Wesener DA, Cheng J, Houston-Ludlam AN, Beller ZW, Hibberd MC, Giannone RJ, Peters SL, Hettich RL, Leyn SA, Rodionov DA, Osterman AL, Gordon JI

Cell Host Microbe 2019 Sep 24 ;

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