A new innovator on the block

By Kristina Meek
November 30, 2012

The location of Sanford-Burnham’s headquarters on the Torrey Pines Mesa of La Jolla, Calif., puts us squarely at the center of a hive of innovation. Part of our innovative spirit means we engage in constant dialogue with other, nearby scientific institutions. So when Pradeep K. Khosla, who took up the mantle of Chancellor at UC San Diego on August 1, expressed a desire to get acquainted with his new neighbors, we welcomed him.

Earlier this week, Khosla travelled just across the street to meet with Sanford-Burnham leadership and to tour the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics. He was amazed with the state-of-the-art robotic screening center.

Khosla has expressed his commitment to innovation as a means of bringing income to UC San Diego, and to the region. In fact, a writer for the UT San Diego recently said of Khosla’s arrival in town, “The San Diego entrepreneur community should pay close attention.”

The Prebys Center, containing the most advanced drug discovery technology in the nonprofit world, is a breeding ground for just the kind of innovative new technology in which the La Jolla region excels. Khosla envisions the region profiting from its expertise not only in health sciences, but by combining that expertise with engineering and alternative fuel research.

Because the Prebys Center, like many of Sanford-Burnham’s other core facilities, is open to outside researchers, it is a valuable resource for the entire scientific community. This availability speaks to the Institute’s collaborative nature—another trait supported by its locations. (The Institute’s Orlando campus, located in the emerging Medical City at Lake Nona, likewise positions us to collaborate.)

Sanford-Burnham has a long history of collaborating with UC San Diego. For example, just last month, a team led by Stanley Opella, Ph.D. at the university and Francesca Marassi, Ph.D. at Sanford-Burnham determined, for the first time, the three-dimensional structure of a complete, unmodified G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) in its native environment. The team hopes that this finding will lead to more effective and less harmful cancer treatments.

“I knew about the reputation, and I’d heard only good things,” Khosla said of Sanford-Burnham. “I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to see firsthand the innovation and the impact of work happening here. I look forward to collaborating with such high caliber institutions.”

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Kristina Meek

Kristina was an SBP Communications staff member.


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