About us

Learn how Sanford Burnham Prebys' innovative research leads to medical discoveries and drug therapies that benefit patients.
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Leading the way

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

40+ years

of pioneering research

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.

How we aim to improve human health

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. The Institute takes a unique, collaborative approach to medical research and has established major research programs in cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is especially known for its world-class capabilities in stem cell research and drug discovery technologies.
Sanford Burnham Prebys is a U.S.-based, non-profit public benefit corporation based in San Diego (La Jolla), California.

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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Fact sheet

Sanford Burnham Prebys Fact Sheet

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The gut microbiome: an unexpected player in cancer immunity.

Peterson SN, Bradley LM, Ronai ZA

Curr Opin Neurobiol 2019 Dec 6 ;62:48-52

Environmental enrichment during the chronic phase after experimental stroke promotes functional recovery without synergistic effects of EphA4 targeted therapy.

de Boer A, Storm A, Soler MG, Smolders S, Rué L, Poppe L, Pasquale E, Robberecht W, Lemmens R

Hum Mol Genet 2019 Dec 9 ;

Fluorescent probes towards selective cathepsin B detection and visualization in cancer cells and patient samples.

Poreba M, Groborz K, Vizovisek M, Maruggi M, Turk D, Turk B, Powis G, Drag M, Salvesen GS

Chem Sci 2019 Sep 28 ;10(36):8461-8477

Humanized Stem Cell Models of Pediatric Medulloblastoma Reveal an Oct4/mTOR Axis that Promotes Malignancy.

Čančer M, Hutter S, Holmberg KO, Rosén G, Sundström A, Tailor J, Bergström T, Garancher A, Essand M, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Falk A, Weishaupt H, Swartling FJ

Cell Stem Cell 2019 Dec 5 ;25(6):855-870.e11

Transcriptional control of central carbon metabolic flux in Bifidobacteria by two functionally similar, yet distinct LacI-type regulators.

Lanigan N, Kelly E, Arzamasov AA, Stanton C, Rodionov DA, van Sinderen D

Sci Rep 2019 Nov 28 ;9(1):17851

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