How I see LJI

Letter from the President – Fall 2021
Photo portrait of LJI Chief Operating Officer Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D.
LJI President and CEO Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D.

As a beacon. A leading light. I see discoveries and opportunities at LJI for the betterment of human health that don’t exist anywhere else. Our faculty and core directors are internationally recognized. Our state-of-the-art facilities allow us to see with greater depth and complexity into individuals’ immune functions. Woven in between, a golden core of collaboration and shared vision allows us to pivot those tools where needed, to address the pandemic and find new mechanisms of immune protection and immune control in cancer, heart disease, and autoimmunity.

What sets LJI apart is its focus. We are the best in the world at understanding the individuality and opportunity of the human immune response. As just one example, drugs that interact with the immune system, such as immunotherapies that fight cancer, are not one-size-fits-all.

LJI scientists can learn from our individual immune system differences to find new ways to treat and prevent disease.

I came to the Institute for Mitch Kronenberg, our outgoing President, and I would like to use my first letter as President to thank him. Mitch, you set a high bar for what it means to lead this Institute, and I’m honored to continue working side-by-side with you as LJI’s Chief Scientific Officer.

In this issue of Immune Matters, you’ll learn more about our vision for LJI.

You’ll also read about the latest in cancer research at LJI, and how physician-scientist Estefania Quesada-Masachs, M.D., Ph.D., has launched paradigm-shifting research into type 1 diabetes. As you read, I hope you’ll take a moment to get to know our newest Board member, Carolee Lee. Carolee is dedicated to advancing women’s health research across the country, and I am thrilled she’s sharing her time and expertise with LJI.

Science can’t get far without community support. In the last year, LJI has become more visible around the world, and we’re in a position to reach more people.

Community and outreach are essential parts of LJI. As I’ve come into my role and spoken with each lab about their needs, I’ve heard how much donor support means to our staff and scientists. It’s transformative and it’s heartwarming.

As an Institute supporter, you have a voice here, too.

Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D.
President and CEO,
La Jolla Institute for Immunology