Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Florida Hospital and Burnham Institute Announce New Executive Director and Facility for Clinical Research Institute

The partnership will bridge diabetes and obesity research and treatment

ORLANDO, Fla. , August 17, 2009

Florida Hospital and Burnham Institute for Medical Research at Lake Nona have taken another giant step in advancing Orlando as a hub for medical research. Today, officials from Florida Hospital and Burnham Institute came together to announce the appointment of Dr. Steven R. Smith, an internationally-renowned diabetes and obesity researcher, as the new executive director of the Florida Hospital - Burnham Clinical Research Institute that focuses on the study of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

“Our vision was to recruit a world-class physician and scientist to lead our mission,” said Dr. Daniel Kelly, scientific director of Burnham Institute for Medical Research at Lake Nona. “We have found the very best and are delighted that Dr. Smith, who is renowned in both basic science and clinical research, will be directing the new institute.”

Florida Hospital and Burnham Institute made a second significant announcement: the construction of a new building to house the clinical research institute. The institute will bring scientists, clinicians and the procedures necessary to facilitate clinical research under one roof.

“Under the leadership of Dr. Smith, we will be working together to conduct translational research, which aims to form a bridge between the research lab and bedside care,” said Dr. Kelly. “This means while Florida Hospital will be working directly with the patients, Burnham scientists will be in the lab studying how and why disease processes vary by individuals.”

The proposed state-of-the-art, 35,000-square-foot building will be located on Princeton Street and will serve as the gateway to Florida Hospital’s Health Village, which is the area being developed around Florida Hospital Orlando for medical space, residential areas, retail and more. Not only does this new building represent remarkable strides in medicine, it will also create jobs while honoring the state’s mission to promote biomedical sciences. The two-year construction schedule is expected to begin with a groundbreaking the first quarter of 2010.

“With this partnership, we hope to change how diabetes and obesity research is conducted,” said Dr. Steven R. Smith, executive director of the Florida Hospital - Burnham Clinical Research Institute. “This new institute will help break down the distance that exists between research and the clinic and help make it possible to deliver results faster and on a personalized level.”

The prevalence of diabetes continues to increase at alarming rates. In Central Florida, the number of people with diabetes has increased four percent in the past 10 years and nationally, diabetes now affects more than 24 million Americans. The creation of the Florida Hospital - Burnham Institute Clinical Research Institute will take the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and obesity to the next level as the numbers of Americans with these ailments continue to climb.

“As the biomedical industry continues to grow, we are thrilled these two organizations have come together to advance the health of our community and the world,” said Buddy Dyer, mayor of Orlando. “This community partnership will only further our efforts for Orlando to become a medical destination.”

Together, the two organizations hope to work toward delivering more personalized medicine in order to provide the best outcomes for those affected by diabetes, obesity and its related diseases.

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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