Happy Holidays from Sanford-Burnham!
As the year draws to a close, we look back on Sanford-Burnham’s many achievements in 2014. Over the year, our scientists published numerous papers in high-profile journals; secured significant grant funding; partnered with companies, institutes, and nonprofit organizations from across the country and the globe; and they took important steps toward our ultimate goal – to have a tangible impact on human health. Here are 14 accomplishments of 2014 that we are proud to share with you:
- In January, we announced the launch of our new 10-year strategic vision. The goal of the vision is to move our laboratory discoveries into drug development, and eventually the patient, faster.
- In August, we welcomed Sanford-Burnham’s new CEO, Perry Nisen, M.D., Ph.D., who joined us from GlaxoSmithKline. Nisen oversees operations of the Institute in both California and Florida.
- Our scientists brought in more than $91 million in grant funding. This includes grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes Association, funding from disease and advocacy groups such as the American Heart Association, and funds from other grant agencies.
- We recruited a total of 160 new scientists and staff members at both campuses.
- Among our recruits this year are five new faculty members: Cosimo Commisso, Ph.D., in the Cell Death and Survival Networks Program; Peter Crawford, M.D., Ph.D., in the Cardiovascular Pathobiology Program; Maximiliano D’Angelo, Ph.D., in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program; Aniruddha Deshpande, Ph.D., in the Tumor Initiation and Maintenance Program; and Muthu Periasamy, Ph.D., in the Cardiovascular Pathobiology Program.
- Partnerships with pharmaceutical companies are a key element of our 10-year strategic vision. In May, we announced a novel collaboration between the Japanese pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo and our Lake Nona campus. The goal of the collaboration is to speed new treatments to patients by developing first-in-class therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular-metabolic diseases.
- Huaxi Xu, Ph.D., in the Degenerative Diseases Program, discovered the process that causes changes in the brains of individuals with Down syndrome—the same changes that cause dementia in Alzheimer’s disease. The findings create a new approach to treating patients with Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative conditions.
- A team of scientists led by Ranjan Perera, Ph.D., recently identified molecular markers in urine that could eventually be used to diagnose prostate cancer. Perera and his team hope to develop a better, more reliable test that could eliminate unnecessary, invasive, and painful biopsies.
- Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D., in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program, developed a technique to promote tissue repair in damaged muscles. The technique provides promise for a new therapeutic approach to treating people with muscle diseases, including muscular dystrophy.
- In September, we announced five new Sanford-Burnham Trustees: David Down of KPMG, Donald Jernigan of Adventist Health System, Doug Manchester of Manchester Financial Group, Edward Schulak of MetroBiotech, and Rasesh Thakkar of Tavistock Group.
- Our annual summer internships gave bright students an intimate look at the steps involved in using and understanding basic-science research to tackle real-world health problems affecting communities today.
- In early spring, we hosted the Metabolic Origins of Disease Symposium, bringing the world’s leading scientists in the field to Lake Nona. In the fall, we hosted Sanford-Burnham’s 36th Annual Symposium in San Diego: The microbiome and Human Health. The event hosted more than 250 attendees to hear opinion-leading scientists discuss their latest findings on the microbiome.
- Siobhan Malany, Ph.D., team leader in our Prebys Center, won GlaxoSmithKline’s Discovery Fast Track Challenge to work on new treatments for high blood pressure. She’s partnering with a colleague at Mayo Clinic to screen the GSK’s library of compounds for potential new drugs to treat resistant hypertension.
- On September 20-21, the second annual Pedal the Cause fundraiser was held in San Diego. Pedal the Cause is a cycling event that raises funds for cancer research at Sanford-Burnham, the Salk Institute, and UCSD Moores Cancer Center. This year, over $1,000,000 was raised and will be divided between the three cancer centers.
We hope your year 2014 was as exciting and successful as ours. Happy holidays and a happy new year from all of us at Sanford-Burnham!