Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
|President||Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D.|
|Interim CEO||Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D.|
|Budget||$154 million (2010)|
|Location||La Jolla and Orlando|
|Address||10901 North Torrey Pines Road|
The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, previously Burnham Institute for Medical Research, is a non-profit medical research institute with locations in La Jolla, California, Orlando, Florida, and Santa Barbara, California. There are more than 850 scientists at Sanford-Burnham; they work on the fundamental molecular causes of various diseases, with research including topics such as cancer, neuroscience, stem cell research, diabetes and obesity.
Research at Sanford-Burnham is supported by funding from National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation among others, and partnerships with pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development. In 2008, Sanford-Burnham was awarded a $97.9 million grant by NIH to establish a high-throughput screening screening center.
William H. Fishman, M.D., Ph.D., and his wife, Lillian Waterman Fishman, founded the La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation in 1976 after retiring from Tufts University School of Medicine. The Foundation focused on oncodevelopment, the study of developmental biology in conjunction with oncology as a means to better understand cancer.
In 1996, the Foundation was renamed The Burnham Institute in honor of San Diego businessman Malin Burnham after he joined with an anonymous donor to contribute $10 million. The Institute was renamed the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in 2006. In 2007, T. Denny Sanford gave the Institute $20 million through Sanford Health, a hospital which received significant donations from T. Denny Sanford previously, allowing it to create the Sanford Children's Health Research Center, which has sites in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and La Jolla, CA, the latter within the campus of Sanford-Burnham. In 2010, the Institute adopted its current name following a $50 million pledge of support from Sanford.
Sanford-Burnham was founded with its primary focus on cancer research. The institute employees more than 1,000 people, of which over 850 are scientists. The scientists who work at Sanford-Burnham include biologists, chemists, biophysicists, engineers, and computer scientists. Sanford-Burnham ranks consistently among the world's top 25 organizations for its research impact, according to Thomson Scientific data. It also ranks among the top four research institutes in the United States in National Institutes of Health grant funding.
The institute now conducts a broad array of medical research activities and is home to five research centers:
- an NCI-designated Cancer Center;
- the Del E. Webb Center for Neurosciences, Aging and Stem Cell Research;
- the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center;
- the Diabetes and Obesity Research Center;
- and the Sanford Children's Health Research Center.
Stem cell research
Sanford-Burnham is one of four institutes that have joined together to carry out stem cell research in a partnership renamed for T. Denny Sanford after he donated $30 million to the effort in 2008. The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine in December 2009 broke ground on a $126 million research facility following more than a year of financing delays wrought by California's budget problems.
In 2006, Sanford-Burnham opened a Santa Barbara location in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara, under the direction of Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti. In 2009, this collaboration was expanded with the establishment of the Center for Nanomedicine, directed by Dr. Jamey Marth. The Center combines UCSB's expertise in engineering with Sanford-Burnham's biomedical research to focus on creating biological devices on the atomic and molecular scale. Examples of this type of research include the creation of medicine-containing nanoparticles that can home in on and release medicine inside of a tumor.
Select scientific achievements
- 1971: Eva Engvall, one of the scientists who invented ELISA in 1971, worked at Sanford-Burnham. She continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor.
- 1984: Discovered cell adhesion regulator RGD (Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D.)
- 1988: Collaborative discovery of the role TGF beta plays in tissue scarring. Based on this research, two clinical trials are underway: one for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis and another for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma and melanoma (Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D.)
- 1992: Observed that the activity of common anti-cancer drugs requires “cell suicide” of the cancer cells (apoptosis) and subsequently discovered novel proteins important in apoptosis (John C. Reed, M.D., Ph.D.)
- 1997: Discovered peptides that home to specific organs. These peptides were later used as targeting elements to deliver nanoparticles into tumors and other sites of disease (Erkki Ruoshlahti, M.D., Ph.D.)
- 2001: Solved the 3-dimensional structure of the anthrax toxin, leading to the creation of the world’s most potent chemical inhibitor of anthrax (Robert Liddington, Ph.D.)
- 2009: Solved the crystal structure of the influenza hemagglutinin (H5) in complex with a broad spectrum neutralizing antibody (Robert Liddington, Ph.D.)
Sanford-Burnham recently[when?] expanded operations to Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida. The Lake Nona campus is home to the Diabetes and Obesity Research Center. It is located in Lake Nona Medical City.
The Institute's partners and collaborators include the City of Orlando, Orange County, the State of Florida, the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, the Tavistock Group, Lake Nona, the University of Florida, the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Florida's Blood Centers, Florida Hospital, Orlando Regional Healthcare, Orlando VA Medical Center, Nemours, Epcot Center, and the Orlando Magic.
Collaboration and partnerships
Sanford-Burnham scientists routinely collaborate across disciplines and campuses. For example, Sanford-Burnham’s high-throughput screening center, the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics, has robotics at both the La Jolla and Lake Nona campuses.
In addition, Sanford-Burnham has strong working relationships with a number of other organizations, including the University of California, San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and Duke University's Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center.
Sanford-Burnham also collaborates with pharmaceutical companies to move research breakthroughs from the lab out to the public. Recent agreements include partners such as Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development and Magellan Biosciences.
Training and education
Sanford-Burnham offers postdoctoral training for scientists who have completed their Ph.D. There are typically around 250 postdocs training at Sanford-Burnham at any time.
Established in 2006, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Sanford-Burnham offers a Ph.D. degree in Molecular Medicine or Integrated Biosciences. The Graduate School trains students for careers in basic and translational research through a curriculum of focused, multi-disciplinary instruction. Sanford-Burnham is currently seeking accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Sanford-Burnham also offers a joint graduate program with the University of California, San Diego in Molecular Pathology.
The endowment was recorded at as low as $15.2 million, a 13 percent drop from nearly $17.5 million in February 2008, due largely to losses on investments. Its endowment stood at $22.5 million as of Dec. 31, 2009.
- "Burnham, Johnson & Johnson ink partnership". January 13, 2009.
- "Burnham Awarded $97.9 Million NIH Grant to Expand Small-Molecule Screening and Discovery Center".
- Burnham Institute Gets $50M Gifta and Changes Name, GenomeWeb, January 26, 2010
- An example of the type of nanomedical research taking place at Sanford-Burnham-UCSB's Center for Nanomedicine(Beaker blog)
- Burnham's Partners & Collaborators in Florida
- "Molecular Pathology Ph.D. program".
- Burnham Institute Gets $50M Gifta and Changes Name, GenomeWeb, January 26, 2010