Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Scientific Excellence Fuels Burnham’s Growth

LA JOLLA, Calif. , August 18, 2009

In its 33rd year, Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) has surpassed significant milestones in scientific achievement, research staffing and infrastructure development. As of July 1, 2009, the Institute exceeded 1,000 employees, including 74 full-time faculty and 800 scientific staff.

With the opening of Burnham’s Lake Nona campus in Orlando, Florida, the acquisition of an additional research building in La Jolla, California and the creation of the joint Center for Nanomedicine with the University of California, Santa Barbara, Burnham has increased its space from 283,000 square feet in January 2009 to 575,000 square feet today.

“We are pleased that our continued growth is creating many opportunities to expand the boundaries of scientific knowledge, while also expanding employment opportunities during these challenging times,” said John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., Burnham president and CEO, professor and Donald Bren Presidential Chair. “While growing rapidly, we have maintained strong attention to quality, as evidenced by Burnham’s number one ranking for the past decade in scientific journal citations per publication in the fields of biology and biochemistry among all organizations worldwide.”

In the past two years alone, Burnham has achieved significant milestones on several fronts. In science, the Institute has published more than 600 research papers. These papers advanced understanding of the mechanisms underlying cancer, Alzheimer’s, HIV, diabetes and many other conditions. Among many recent advances, Burnham researchers have helped discover monoclonal antibodies that attack a variety of flu strains, illuminated how HIV co-opts cellular mechanisms to create persistent infections, devised novel chemicals that attack anti-death proteins responsible for sustaining survival of malignant cells and thus providing a means to kill chemoresistant cancer cells, elucidated how protein misfolding and protein oxidation contribute to the demise of brain cells in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases and generated replacement heart cells from synthetically-produced stem cells as a new approach to treating heart attack and heart failure.

Burnham has increased its overall grants and contract revenue, and is the only organization in the nation to achieve more than 5 consecutive years of growth in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), averaging 11.5 percent annual growth for the past 8 years. Last year, Burnham received a $98 million contract from the NIH to support a national network in chemical genomics, as well as an $8 million NIH grant to establish a national Parkinson’s disease research center. While covering more than 90 percent of costs from competitive grants, Burnham has also secured important philanthropic gifts to help accelerate its research programs. South Dakota banker T. Denny Sanford donated $20 million to create the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center, San Diego developer Conrad Prebys gave $10 million to name the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics and Irvine Companies owner Donald Bren contributed $2.5 million to create the Donald Bren Presidential Chair at Burnham.

“At Burnham, our motto is From Research, the Power to Cure,” said Dr. Reed. “By adding more scientists to our team and providing them with additional laboratory space, we hope to accelerate our efforts to translate basic science discoveries into better treatments that reduce human suffering around the world.”

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

Sanford-Burnham can also be found on Facebook at and on Twitter @sanfordburnham.

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