August 2022
Peter Adams and Bing Ren awarded $10.6M to create atlas of aging cells

Sanford Burnham Prebys professor Peter Adams, Ph.D., and UC San Diego professor Bing Ren, Ph.D., have been awarded a new grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to join a multi-institution initiative studying the process of aging.

The $10.6 million grant was awarded as part of the NICellular Senescence Network (SenNet) program, which aims to create a comprehensive atlas of how and where aging cells accumulate in our tissues and open new avenues for treating age-related diseases. 

“SenNet could transform how we look at aging, and I’m excited to be a part of such an ambitious project,” says Adams, who directs the Aging, Cancer and Immuno-oncology Program at Sanford Burnham Prebys. “The atlas we create could become a treasure trove for scientists aiming to develop strategies to prevent and treat age-related diseases.”

Using stem cells to develop new approaches for treating Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and other neurological diseases

A novel method that measures the activity of neuronal networks from human-induced pluripotent stem cells can reveal the biological processes that control learning and memory. The procedure tracks how synapses—the connections between neurons—strengthen over time, a process called long-term potentiation. 

“Impaired long-term potentiation is thought to be central to many neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s, addiction and schizophrenia,” says Anne Bang, Ph.D., director of Cell Biology at the Prebys Center. “We’ve developed an approach to study this process in human cells much more efficiently than current methods, which could help trigger future breakthroughs for researchers working on these diseases.” 

Timothy Huang awarded $2.8M to study well-known gene linked to Alzheimer’s disease

“There is a lot of evidence connecting certain genes to Alzheimer’s, but the role that individual gene mutations play in the brain remains unclear,” says Timothy Huang, Ph.D. “Figuring out these specifics is key to uncovering new approaches to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s.”

Jianhua Zhao awarded $2.4M to reveal cancer targets through atomic-resolution imaging

“Interrupting protein recycling is already an established therapeutic strategy for some cancers, like multiply myeloma,” says Jinhua Zhao, Ph.D. “Our goal with this grant is to learn more about the fundamental biology of this process and the structures that control it so we can open up new avenues for cancer treatment.”


For the first time, Sanford Burnham Prebys hosted high school interns from the SPARK program, an initiative by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) that provides biomedical research opportunities for underrepresented groups throughout California.

Preuss internship inspires young scientists

Students from the Preuss School, affiliated with UC San Diego, strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college. The Sanford Burnham Prebys Preuss internship program helps train the next generation of scientists by inviting students from the Preuss school to work alongside Institute scientists.

One plant at a time: How Sanford Burnham Prebys is helping the monarch butterfly

To help protect the monarch butterfly, which was recently declared endangered, Sanford Burnham Prebys is planting milkweed on campus. Planting milkweed and other butterfly-friendly flowers along monarch migration routes is a key strategy to support this iconic California species and prevent further decline. 

The milkweed planting is the latest in a series of steps the Institute has taken to help protect the environment and promote sustainability. Sanford Burnham Prebys has been recognized as a trailblazer in water conservation for its innovative water-saving landscaping, and the Institute also recently completed a sweeping round of solar energy upgrades.

“It’s great that our Institute is able to do our part to protect the environment, including these beautiful monarch butterflies,” says facilities director John Reed.

August is National Make-A-Will Month!

This movement is dedicated to providing resources and support so that people can protect what they love most. Approximately 67% of Americans have not created their wills—and it's no surprise considering how expensive the process can be. 

But this month, Sanford Burnham Prebys supporters, community members and staff have the opportunity to create a will at no cost. 
We have partnered with FreeWill: a free online resource that guides you through the process of making or updating a legally valid will in just 20 minutes. FreeWill’s secure platform has helped more than 580,000 people across the country complete their wills. 
This Make-A-Will Month, thousands will take action. Because no matter where you are on your life journey or the value of your assets, creating a plan:
● Helps you care for your loved ones
● Empowers you to make important decisions on your own terms
● Gives you an easy way to support the causes you love permanently
Sanford Burnham Prebys discoveries begin with our people—so please take a moment to join the movement and take advantage of this free resource to make or update your will.
Create a will now: FreeWill