2017 Faculty Retreat highlights research advances, awards and promotions

| Written by Susan Gammon PhD
Kristiina Vuori (left) and Alessandra Sacco (right)

The 2017 Faculty Retreat, held May 10-11, gave Institute researchers a chance to present their latest discoveries, share ideas, and socialize in beautiful Carlsbad, CA.

The two-day event, organized by Bas Baaten and Cosimo Commisso, included scientific sessions on:

  • Epigenetics and Immunity—Chair: Max D’Angelo
  • Neurological Disorders—Chair: Jerold Chun
  • Metabolism/Development and Regeneration—Chair: Alex Colas
  • Cancer—Chair: Brooke Emerling
  • SBP’s Drug Discovery Portfolio—Chair: Michael Jackson

CEO Perry Nisen chaired a session on “Partnering to Accelerate Research” that covered SBP’s intellectual property resources and guidelines, how to work with Business Development, and the role of philanthropy in supporting our Institute.

A major highlight of the retreat was the presentation of the “WOW” award to Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D., associate professor in the Development and Aging Research Center. The “WOW” award stands for Wonderful Original Work and is awarded based on votes by scientists attending the retreat. This was the second time in six years that Alessandra has been named the recipient. Her presentation titled, “Dynamics of muscle stem cell expansion during tissue repair and maintenance” gave important insights for pharmacological treatments for age-related muscle wasting diseases.

Congratulations were also in order for Malene Hansen, Ph.D., who was promoted to professor in the Development, Aging and Regeneration Program.

Finally, two special presentations were given by recent recipients of NIH R35 Outstanding Investigator Awards:

  • Ze’ev Ronai presented “Improvidus, apto, quod victum,” a glimpse of his stellar career as a leader in the field of melanoma research.
  • Francesca Marassi presented “Structual analysis of Yersinia-host interactions,” a summary of her work to understand how the organism that causes bubonic plague infect humans cells

And the retreat was outstandingly organized by Esther Minotti, research administrative specialist.

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