The Sanford-Burnham 2014 Faculty Retreat, held June 10-11, gave Institute researchers a chance to present their latest discoveries, share ideas, and socialize in sunny Carlsbad, Calif.
A recurring theme of the retreat was successful strategies to reach beyond our Institute borders for collaborators, resources, and funding. The event was attended by more than 40 scientists, with 17 presentations from the Institute’s research programs:
Tumor Initiation and Maintenance Metabolic Disease
Cell Death and Survival Networks Development, Aging and Regeneration
Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis Human Genetics
Immunity and Pathogenesis Cardiovascular Pathobiology
Degenerative Diseases Bioinformatics and Structural Biology
A major highlight was the presentation of the “WOW” award to Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program. Her recent work elucidates the pathway that regulates skeletal muscle satellite-cell behavior and has important implications for pharmacological treatments for muscle-wasting diseases, such as muscular dystrophy. The “WOW” award stands for Wonderful Original Work, and this was the fourth year it has been awarded at a faculty retreat.
Congratulations were also in order for Matt Petroski, Ph.D., who was promoted to associate professor in the Tumor Initiation and Maintenance Program, and Niels Volkmann, Ph.D., who was promoted to professor in the Bioinformatics and Structural Biology Program.
A special presentation by Mark Adams, Ph.D., scientific director of the J. Craig Venter Institute on “Reading and writing the code: from genomics to synthetic biology” profiled their work on building the first self-replicating synthetic cells from the ground up. The research aims to understand the most-basic molecules required to create a functioning cell, and has implications for biofuels, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, clean water, and food products.