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Sanford-Burnham Promotes Vuori to President as Reed Focuses More on Externals

By Alex Philippidis

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute's longtime CEO John Reed has relinquished his position of president to Kristiina Vuori, who has been promoted from executive vice president of scientific affairs.

The move will allow Reed to focus more of his efforts outside Sanford-Burnham's campuses in La Jolla, Calif., and in the Lake Nona community of Orlando, Fla., a spokesman for the institute told GenomeWeb Daily News.

"He wanted to focus more on the external [operations]," Sanford-Burnham spokesman Josh Baxt said. "We're going to have a lot of stress on bringing in philanthropy so we can expand the science [and] business development. We divide this up in a way that Dr. Vuori will have the internal piece of it, and Dr. Reed can focus on more of the external piece, but he'll also be giving direction — the broader strokes — on the internal piece as well."

Baxt said the promotion of Vuori is not a signal that Reed, who has headed the institute as president and CEO since 2002, is planning to retire soon. "John's committed for the long haul. He's not going anywhere," said Baxt.

Reed has held several positions with the institute, including director of its oncogene and tumor suppressor gene program, as well as deputy director and then director of Sanford-Burnham's NCI-designated cancer center. He served as founder and director of the institute's program on apoptosis and cell death research for five years until 2000, and was the institute's scientific director from 1995 until his appointment as president and CEO.

In her new position, Vuori will oversee Sanford-Burnham's scientific and non-scientific operations day-to-day. Vuori, who with Reed also co-directs the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics at Sanford-Burnham, will remain director of the cancer center, and will continue to manage her cancer research laboratory.

Vuori's promotion to president took effect April 1. Concurrent with that promotion, Pauline Foster made an undisclosed "substantial" gift to the institute to endow its Pauline and Stanley Foster Presidential Chair, Sanford-Burnham said in a statement.

Vuori's research has focused on identifying and controlling molecular mechanisms that allow for cancer metastasis throughout the body. After joining the institute in 1992 — when it was called the La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation — she was named deputy director of Sanford-Burnham's cancer center in 2003, and advanced to director three years later. In 2008, she became executive VP for scientific affairs.

She earned her MD and PhD at the University of Oulu, Finland, and conducted her postdoctoral training under then-president and CEO Erkki Ruoslahti.