We align our research with the needs of the patient

Applying an entrepreneurial spirit that fuels scientific discoveries.
patient in lab with researcher

Biomedical research is undergoing a revolution, driven by big data, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

We are uniquely positioned to lead because…


  • We study the toughest diseases: cancer, heart, mind and metabolic.
  • We are forward-looking, unafraid of change or challenge.
  • We are collaborative, flexible, multi-disciplinary and team-focused.
  • We embrace data science.
  • We promote entrepreneurship.
  • We are central to a vibrant, local biomedical community.

We want the best minds working together.

Sanford Burnham Prebys fosters collaboration that advances science and converts discoveries into new treatments. See how below.


Where independent minds come together

Our research programs group scientists working in key areas of biology to foster collaborations that will pave the way to improving human health.

Our scientists study the types of cells that give rise to cancer and the molecular mechanisms they use to escape the normal cell cycle, including death. Their findings point the way to developing drugs that prohibit and inhibit tumor cell growth.

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We are researching the pathways and signals that tumors use to reprogram their metabolism to escape normal cell death. Understanding these pathways helps identify therapeutic targets and is critical for the design of tumor-specific, less toxic therapies.

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Understanding how cells interact with each other and their environment to promote tumor growth is a key step in combating cancer. We explore how the immune system is altered to promote tumor growth, and how we can harness the immune system to fight back and kill cancer cells.

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Our research is focused on the role and degradation of functional vs. nonfunctional protein. It appears that inappropriate 3-dimensional protein folding is a hallmark of degenerative diseases and deteriorates with environmental changes and age. Defective protein folding is increasingly thought to be associated with many diseases ranging from cancer to metabolic and inflammatory response syndromes.

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By deciphering the codes for normal development, aging and regeneration, we are gaining the tools to uncover novel therapeutics for patients with heart disease, neurodegeneration, muscle disorders, diabetes, cancer and other diseases associated with aging.

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We are probing the basis of genetic disease using zebrafish, mouse models, and stem cell technologies. We create “disease in a dish” models from a patient’s skin cells to study an individual’s specific genetic disorder, and apply the results to develop a personalized treatment strategy.

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Our research is leading to the design of anti-viral compounds, vaccines, and new approaches to treat cancer. We are studying the complexities of the host immune system in inflammation, autoimmune and infectious diseases. In cancer, we are learning how to modulate the immune system to fight the growth and spread of tumors.

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Applying fundamental knowledge gained from our programs to specific diseases and technologies

The goal is to create the new therapeutics of tomorrow.

The Institute’s Cancer Center is one of only seven NCI-designated basic cancer research centers in the nation. We couple fundamental biological research with early translational studies to find new, innovative therapies that restore hope to cancer patients and their families.

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The human immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues and organs that fight off disease. It can also turn against the body causing autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis. Increasingly, scientists are learning how to help the body’s immune system to combat cancer.

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Diseases associated with aging and development are already a leading cause of death and disability, and their prevalence is rising fast—to give one example, by 2050, the number of Alzheimer’s patients age 65 and older may nearly triple from 5 million to 13.8 million.

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Genetic diseases in children are rare, and often incurable. Research insights into the genes and environmental factors that play a role in the development of childhood diseases are leading to better ways to more accurately diagnose, treat and cure children with disease.

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Through development and application of modern drug discovery technologies, the Prebys Center is uniquely positioned to make next-generation medicines.

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The Center serves as a liaison between the Institute and the outside clinical and industrial communities focused on regenerative medicine.

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Translation and Drug Discovery

Feeding the pipeline for the medicines of tomorrow

Our robust expertise and infrastructure—which includes one of the largest drug screening platforms in the nonprofit world—means we can quickly identify, test and deliver viable therapeutic candidates to our industry partners.

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Shared Resources

State-of-the-art Instrumentation, facilities and services

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute has an extensive Shared Resources system with over 20 core facilities. Their primary mission is to provide advanced technology, expertise and instrumentation to investigators that may not be easily acquired by individual laboratories.

The cores, staffed by technical experts, offer high quality interactive services that provide not only cost-effective sample analysis, but also assistance in experimental design, data analysis and grant or manuscript preparation. Many of the cores offer a choice of full service, or investigator training on their advanced instrumentation for independent use.

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Most core facilities can also provide expert services for outside nonprofit and for-profit investigators – contact the Facility Manager or Director regarding service availability.


Our business development team can guide you to new opportunities.

A relationship with Sanford Burnham Prebys provides access to deep biological insights and cutting edge translational technology.


patents issued to date


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