South Dakota banking mogul Denny Sanford has donated $50 million more to the Burnham Medical Research Institute in San Diego, California, which will be renamed the Sanford-Burnham Institute in honor of the gift.
In the past 3 years, Sanford has emerged as one of the nation's top philanthropists for medical research. In addition to $20 million he donated to Burnham in 2007 and $30 million to fund stem-cell work at a separate institute in San Diego in 2008, Sanford gave $400 million to Sioux Valley Hospital (now named Sanford Health) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 2007. With the money, Sanford Health is funding the Sanford Project, whose goals are to, first, cure type 1 diabetes within Denny Sanford's lifetime, as well as in the longer term, to build Sioux Falls into a national clinical trials hub.
The Burnham Institute does some basic research into diabetes, and officials in South Dakota were hopeful that Burnham would funnel promising leads to them to test on animals and humans. The additional gift of $50 million could help cement ties between the California and South Dakota institutes.
(The Sanford Project and Denny Sanford's gifts to the Burnham Institute are subjects of a profile in Friday's issue of Science.)