We’re excited about an event coming up later this week—the 2013 Rock Stars of Innovation Summit. (With a name like that, who wouldn’t be?) The conference, presented by CONNECT and Xconomy, takes place at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego April 11 and 12, 2013.
On April 4, the San Diego chapter of Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (OBR) will present a free event, Personalized Medicine: Road to New Opportunities.
Drug development scientist Rita Lim-Wilby, Ph.D. will lead a panel discussion on this fascinating and quickly evolving topic. The panel includes Michael Jackson, Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham’s vice president of drug discovery and development, Rob Bookstein, M.D., of Illumina, James Christensen, Ph.D., of Pfizer, Ashley Van Zeeland, Ph.D., M.B.A., of Cyber Genomics, and Paul Billings, M.D., Ph.D., of Life Technologies.
What: Personalized Medicine: Road to New Opportunities
When: Thursday, April 4, 2013, 5:15 p.m. PT
Where: W.M. Keck Foundation Amphitheater, The Scripps Research Institute
10550 N. Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037
Scientific research isn’t always easy to explain—or to understand. Whichever side of the conversation you’re on, you might feel a communication gap. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) , the state’s stem cell agency, recently set out to bridge that gap with a #SciencePitch Challenge. Their goal was to encourage stem cell researchers to develop their “elevator pitch” — the short overview of their work that they’d give if a fellow elevator passenger asked them what they do and they only had a short ride in which to explain it. In the process, the participants are also demonstrating the importance of stem cell research and generating excitement about their work.
Pedal the Cause–San Diego, the region’s only multi-day cycling fundraiser for cancer research, will announce their first annual event today at 11 a.m. PT, on our La Jolla campus.
Sanford-Burnham is excited to be part of this new fundraising event for cancer research, in partnership with our two “neighbor” National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
What’s your favorite memory of summer camp? Is it a great friend you made or a game you mastered? We’re giving you a chance to relive those fun, youthful memories with a grown-up purpose: raising money for stem cell research.
You’re invited to our annual Bring It! event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Activity Center in Del Mar, Calif., on April 25. Former San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders will co-chair with founding chairs Stath and Terry Karras. This year’s theme, Camp Bring It!, will challenge guests with a variety of camp-themed games.
Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has reaffirmed his commitment to Sanford-Burnham and expressed his confidence in our interim chief executive officer, Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., by pledging a seven-figure donation to cancer research.
“At this time of transition, I want to provide both financial support and a personal endorsement of Sanford-Burnham’s excellence,” said Mr. Sanford. “I have the utmost confidence in the Institute’s future and Dr. Vuori’s leadership as interim CEO.” Mr. Sanford’s previous pledges to the Institute total in excess of $70 million, including the transformative gift that resulted in the Institute’s name change in 2010.
Vuori, president of the Institute since 2010, was named interim CEO last month when John C. Reed, M.D., Ph.D., stepped down from the position. Reed and Vuori worked closely together during a time when the Institute emerged as a world leader in research and early-stage drug discovery.
“Mr. Sanford has made an indelible mark on this institution through financial support which he has characterized as investments in medical research. He envisions a healthier future and we are honored to be part of that vision,” Vuori said. “As a cancer researcher, this latest substantial gift means a great deal to me personally, as well as to Sanford-Burnham.”
It’s a good idea for the people within an organization to stop and look around once in a while. And there is perhaps no better time for reflection than during a time of transition.
As John C. Reed, M.D., Ph.D., put it, “All organizations benefit from fresh leadership approximately every decade, and that time is now for Sanford-Burnham.” Reed announced on January 14 that he would be stepping down after 11 years as CEO to accept a position with pharmaceutical company Roche.
This turn of events led to an opportunity to reflect on our past, present and future, when Sanford-Burnham’s leaders presented “Reflections on a Decade of Growth.” Our scientists and staff heard from Reed, as well as distinguished professor and past president (1989-2002) Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., and president and interim CEO Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D.
Their inspiring presentation including four key observations:
The location of Sanford-Burnham’s headquarters on the Torrey Pines Mesa of La Jolla, Calif., puts us squarely at the center of a hive of innovation. Part of our innovative spirit means we engage in constant dialogue with other, nearby scientific institutions. So when Pradeep K. Khosla, who took up the mantle of Chancellor at UC San Diego on August 1, expressed a desire to get acquainted with his new neighbors, we welcomed him.
Earlier this week, Khosla travelled just across the street to meet with Sanford-Burnham leadership and to tour the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics. He was amazed with the state-of-the-art robotic screening center.
Khosla has expressed his commitment to innovation as a means of bringing income to UC San Diego, and to the region. In fact, a writer for the UT San Diego recently said of Khosla’s arrival in town, “The San Diego entrepreneur community should pay close attention.”
Guests at the Sanford-Burnham gala last Saturday marched, sang, and danced, swept along by the beat of generosity—and led by our own “music man,” Conrad Prebys. The evening’s theme, Marching Towards a Cure drew on elements of the classic Broadway musical The Music Man to make for an unforgettable evening.
Prebys, who co-chaired the gala along with partner Debbie Turner, has been one of the Institute’s most ardent supporters. His most notable gift was the one that named the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics, Sanford-Burnham’s outstanding drug discovery facility that spans two locations, one in La Jolla, California and the other in Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida. During the evening’s festivities he pledged $250,000 in support of the Institute.
Joining Conrad and Debbie as co-chairs were Blair Blum and Jim Sexton, and Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky. Life Technologies was the lead sponsor.
Science and art have a lot in common. That was the clear conclusion drawn by a panel of experts at the world-renowned La Jolla Playhouse on November 11, at an event titled The Art in Science/The Science in Art. Collaboration, the willingness to take risks, and the making of what one panelist called “intuitive leaps” all rose to the fore as shared traits. Although perhaps the most significant thing the two disciplines have in common, they realized, is the ongoing need for funding.
“You hear a lot about patrons of the arts,” remarked Sanford-Burnham adjunct faculty member Dr. Pamela Itkin-Ansari. “I think we also need more patrons of science.” Based on their enthusiastic applause, the audience agreed.
The 2012 Fishman Fund Awards were presented to five postdoctoral researchers during a ceremony held at Sanford-Burnham’s La Jolla campus October 11. Each fall, the Fishman Fund Awards are presented to exceptional young scientists. The award provides means and incentive to further the recipients’ professional development.
During the ceremony, Sanford-Burnham President Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D. talked about the importance of postdocs in the Institute’s overall work; of roughly 1,200 employees at Sanford-Burnham, approximately 200 are postdocs. She recalled her own time as a postdoc here at the Institute, in the lab of Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., and said that it was during that time when she became “hooked on science.”
Nico Nierenberg, former chair of Sanford-Burnham’s board of trustees gave the evening’s keynote speech. He talked about the promise of research, the discoveries that await us tomorrow, and the value of investing in Sanford-Burnham’s work.
The awards were then presented to:
The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, a two-day conference held in La Jolla, Calif. by The Atlantic magazine and UC San Diego, crescendoed with its final panel, titled “Truth is What Stands the Test of Experience: The Challenges of Scientific Research and Philanthropy.” If that seems like a mouthful, be assured the panelists were at no loss for words on the subject.
“I am a big believer in basic research,” said Greg Lucier, CEO of Life Technologies and former chair of Sanford-Burnham’s board of trustees. A leader in the biotechnology industry, Lucier expressed many of the same hopes and goals as his fellow panelists, a fundraiser and a researcher. Debi Brooks, co-founder and executive vice chairman of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and Santosh Kesari, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the division of neuro-oncology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, both expressed the need for increased funding for research. Moderator Steve Clemons, editor-at-large for The Atlantic, expressed his admiration for all that each of these three have accomplished for their own organizations, and for what those accomplishments mean for the greater good.
Dr. Fred Levine, director of our Sanford Children’s Health Research Center, started searching for potential diabetes drugs in 2005. Back then, Sanford-Burnham didn’t have a high-throughput drug screening center. It didn’t even have a children’s health research center.
One day, Dr. Levine was conferring with his colleague Dr. Mark Mercola, a heart researcher. Dr. Mercola was using some modest drug screening equipment set up in a converted office down the hall from his laboratory. He was screening chemical compounds with the hope of finding a few they could further explore as potential drugs for treating heart disease. Dr. Levine thought the same technique might lead to potential treatments for type 1 (juvenile) diabetes.
Scientists sometimes say that the ability to explain their work is as valuable a skill as the ability to do great science. They need to explain their research plans in grant applications, describe their findings for scientific journals, and share their knowledge with collaborators. Teaching is one way that many scientists find to exercise and develop this skill.
Judith Scheliga is one of six graduate students who spent the last six weeks as a teaching assistant for a “science boot camp” held at Sanford-Burnham. This internship program, called the Summer Science Enrichment Session, is offered through Sanford-Burnham’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, as part of its efforts to build a pipeline of culturally diverse future scientists. Seven “rising star” seniors from The Preuss School UCSD—which provides a college preparatory program to deserving students from underserved San Diego communities— took part in the program, working from nine to five each day in the lab.
You are invited to an evening of music, merriment, and classic Americana at our 2012 gala, Marching Towards a Cure, inspired by the classic Broadway musical, The Music Man. The gala takes place November 17 at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in La Jolla, CA. Events like this not only raise money for our research, but allow donors to mingle with like-minded friends and neighbors, and to meet some of our scientists.
Conrad Prebys and Debbie Turner, distinguished San Diego philanthropists and musical theatre aficionados, will chair the gala, along with co-chairs Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky, Blair Blum and Jim Sexton. The evening will include a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, and live musical entertainment—but no auction. Guests will have the opportunity to contribute to Sanford-Burnham during the “fund-a-need” portion of the evening.
Andy Taylor, from the cast of the 2012 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Once, and Alet Taylor, whose credits include the national tour of The Producers, will give an unforgettable performance of original songs inspired by the evening’s theme. Live music for dancing will continue after dinner.
Guests are asked to dress in cocktail attire; themed accessories will be provided. A few tickets and tables remain available. If you are unable to attend you can still support our research by making a secure online gift.
Thank you to Life Technologies, our lead sponsor.