Scientific Excellence Fuels Burnham’s Growth

Article ID: 555342

Released: 18-Aug-2009 3:30 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Newswise — 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 developer Donald Bren donated $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 Burnham Institute for Medical ResearchBurnham Institute for Medical Research is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Burnham, with operations in California and Florida, is one of the fastest-growing research institutes in the country. The institute ranks among the top four institutions nationally for NIH grant funding and among the top 25 organizations worldwide for its research impact. For the past decade (1999-2009), Burnham ranked first worldwide in the fields of biology and biochemistry for the impact of its research publications (defined by citations per publication), according to the Institute for Scientific Information.

Burnham utilizes a unique, collaborative approach to medical research and has established major research programs in cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is especially known for its world-class capabilities in stem cell research and drug discovery technologies. Burnham is a nonprofit public benefit corporation.

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