Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Dr. Kristiina Vuori Promoted to President of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Pauline Foster Makes Gift to Endow Presidential Chair

LA JOLLA, Calif. , April 13, 2010

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) has promoted Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., to President of the Institute. In this role, she will oversee Sanford-Burnham’s day-to-day operations. Prior to the promotion, Dr. Vuori was Executive Vice President of Scientific Affairs. She will continue to manage her cancer research laboratory and remain Director of Sanford-Burnham’s NCI-designated Cancer Center. John C. Reed, M.D., Ph.D., Donald Bren Chief Executive Chair and former President, will continue as Chief Executive Officer.

Concurrent with Dr. Vuori’s promotion, Pauline Foster has made a substantial gift to Sanford-Burnham to endow the Pauline and Stanley Foster Presidential Chair.

“Kristiina has provided outstanding leadership as Sanford-Burnham has expanded our research in California and Florida,” said Dr. Reed. “She has overseen the introduction of cutting-edge technologies into our laboratories and has shown laser focus on our mission to find cures for human diseases. Her tireless efforts have resulted in numerous successes, including the recent renewal of the Institute’s NCI grant with a rating of ‘outstanding.’ And now, holding the Pauline and Stanley Foster Presidential Chair, she will be in an even better position to help move the Institute to the next level.”

In her new role, Dr. Vuori will oversee both the scientific and nonscientific operations at Sanford-Burnham. She will work to maximize the organization’s efficiency as it continues to grow its scientific endeavors in San Diego and Santa Barbara, California and Orlando, Florida. As Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Reed will focus on business development, philanthropy and external communications, while continuing to contribute his expertise in defining the overall scientific direction and vision of the Institute.

“John Reed and Kristiina Vuori have shown repeatedly they have what it takes to raise the bar for scientific discovery,” added Gregory T. Lucier, CEO and Chairman of Life Technologies, Inc., and Chairman of Sanford-Burnham’s Board of Trustees. “With this gift from Pauline Foster, as well as the recent transformational gift from Denny Sanford, their leadership will be even more important as they leverage Sanford-Burnham’s strengths in drug discovery, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, stem cells, nanomedicine and many other areas to find new ways to treat disease.”

Dr. Vuori came to Sanford-Burnham (then La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation) in 1992 after earning her M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of Oulu, Finland. She conducted her postdoctoral training under then President and CEO Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Vuori was appointed Deputy Director of Sanford-Burnham’s Cancer Center in 2003 and Director in 2006. In 2008, she was appointed Executive Vice President of Scientific Affairs. She is also co-Director of the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics at Sanford-Burnham, one of four national comprehensive centers of excellence established by the National Institutes of Health to accelerate chemical biology and drug discovery.

Dr. Vuori's research seeks to identify the molecular mechanisms behind cancer metastasis, which causes nearly all cancer deaths. The Vuori laboratory’s focus is on controlling the mechanisms that allow cancer cells to invade tissues and metastasize throughout the body.

”It is a great honor for me to be appointed President of one of the world’s premier medical research organizations,” said Dr. Vuori. “When I look to the future, I see incredible possibilities for treating and curing disease, and I am grateful for Pauline Foster’s visionary support of our work. We have built the research programs and the drug discovery platform to translate basic science discoveries into new treatments. These capabilities will allow us to improve health for people around the world.”

A San Diego native, Pauline Foster has long been a leader in the community, having taken key roles with the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego; United Jewish Federation of San Diego County; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the UC San Diego Foundation; the Rady School of Management and many other organizations. She is President of Foster Investments.

“The research being done by Dr. Vuori, and the many other scientists at Sanford-Burnham, particularly in cancer, is having a profound impact on our ability to cure disease,” said Pauline Foster. “Through my gift, I hope to provide the resources to expand this fine work.”

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, 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 1,200 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), California and Orlando (Lake Nona), Florida. For more information, visit us at sanfordburnham.org.

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