2014 Faculty Retreat highlights research achievements, awards and promotions

By Susan Gammon, Ph.D.
June 16, 2014

The Sanford-Burnham 2014 Faculty Retreat, held June 10-11, gave Institute researchers a chance to present their latest discoveries, share ideas, and socialize in sunny Carlsbad, Calif.

A recurring theme of the retreat was successful strategies to reach beyond our Institute borders for collaborators, resources, and funding. The event was attended by more than 40 scientists, with 17 presentations from the Institute’s research programs:

Tumor Initiation and Maintenance                                      Metabolic Disease
Cell Death and Survival Networks                                      Development, Aging and Regeneration
Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis                          Human Genetics
Immunity and Pathogenesis                                               Cardiovascular Pathobiology
Degenerative Diseases                                                      Bioinformatics and Structural Biology

A major highlight was the presentation of the “WOW” award to Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program. Her recent work elucidates the pathway that regulates skeletal muscle satellite-cell behavior and has important implications for pharmacological treatments for muscle-wasting diseases, such as muscular dystrophy.  The “WOW” award stands for Wonderful Original Work, and this was the fourth year it has been awarded at a faculty retreat.

(from left to right) Sara Courtneidge, Ph.D., Niels Volkmann, Ph.D., Matt Petroski, Ph.D., and Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D.

(from left to right) Sara Courtneidge, Ph.D., Niels Volkmann, Ph.D., Matt Petroski, Ph.D., and Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D.











Congratulations were also in order for Matt Petroski, Ph.D., who was promoted to associate professor in the Tumor Initiation and Maintenance Program, and Niels Volkmann, Ph.D., who was promoted to professor in the Bioinformatics and Structural Biology Program.

A special presentation by Mark Adams, Ph.D., scientific director of the J. Craig Venter Institute on “Reading and writing the code: from genomics to synthetic biology” profiled their work on building the first self-replicating synthetic cells from the ground up. The research aims to understand the most-basic molecules required to create a functioning cell, and has implications for biofuels, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, clean water, and food products.

The meeting was organized by Robert Rickert, Ph.D., professor and director of the Immunity and Pathogenesis Program and Sumit Chanda, Ph.D., also a professor in the Immunity and Pathogenesis Program.

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Susan Gammon, Ph.D.

Susan is editor of Communications at SBP.


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