Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Burnham Scientist Selected for 57th Lindau Nobel Conference

LA JOLLA, Calif. , June 1, 2007

Lars Bode, Ph.D., Staff Scientist at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (“Burnham”), has been selected to participate in the 57th Annual Lindau Nobel Conference to be convened at Lake Constance in the Alps from July 1–6, 2007. Dr. Bode will join 500 of the world’s most talented young scientists, including approximately 70 colleagues from the United States, in a unique forum of discussions guided by 18 Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine.

Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings have been held annually since 1951 to provide a week-long venue joining Nobel Laureates with young scientists to promote dialog between science and society. The 500 conference attendees are selected from among the more than 10,000 outstanding young scientists nominated worldwide. In addition to the unique experience of the conference itself, participants make lifelong connections fostered through a robust alumni network promoted by the Council and Foundation for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.

Lars Bode earned his Ph.D. in human nutrition from the Institute of Nutritional Sciences, Justu-Liebig-University at Giessen, Germany. A fellowship from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft supported Dr. Bode’s training as a postdoctoral fellow in glycobiology with Dr. Hudson Freeze at Burnham, where he was appointed Staff Scientist in 2006. In addition to his budding research career, Dr. Bode has assumed a supervisory role for undergraduate students and technical assistants as well as recruiting, supervising, and mentoring international graduate students at Burnham.

Dr. Bode’s collaboration with Dr. Freeze has focused on determining the molecular basis of protein-losing enteropathy (PLE), an often life-threatening symptom of a number of diseases. Little is known about which patients are at-risk, their prognosis, the appropriate therapy, or what actually causes the condition. With the help of start-up funding from the Children’s Heart Fund, Dr. Bode successfully outlined the critical features of this disorder and translated them into meaningful and informative experiments in cells and animals. These results have provided a conceptual underpinning for the experimental use of a therapy on a compassionate use basis for a PLE patient in the Netherlands. The therapy was successful within weeks, and Dr. Bode is now trying to extend the temporary improvement by a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of this disorder.

Dr. Bode’s multidisciplinary training in human nutrition and glycobiology have evolved toward understanding human milk oligosaccharides, a new frontier in the understanding of human nutrition, outlined in a review he authored published in Journal of Nutrition in 2006. The Lindau Nobel Laureate Conference provides a rare opportunity to gain global perspectives, summarized by Dr. Bode in his application statement to the conference: “To grasp Nature’s complexity, scientists specialize and receive in-depth training and acquire skills in specific, highly focused areas. Although specialization can be extremely powerful, it will be useless if we fail to reconnect the specialists and provide a vision for the ‘bigger picture’ in order to address Nature’s complexity and the challenges we’re facing today…(which) involve severe malnutrition or certain infectious diseases that are rather uncommon in the more privileged parts of the world. Still, they exist and kill millions of people every year.”

About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute


Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham takes a collaborative approach to medical research with major programs in cancer, neurodegeneration and stem cells, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is recognized for its National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and expertise in drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit, independent institute that employs more than 1,000 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, visit us at sanfordburnham.org.

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