Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (San Diego)

Research focus

The main interest of the Albani laboratory is to design and exploit tools for the manipulation of adaptive autoimmunity for therapeutic purposes.

The approach reflects Albani’s focus on Translational Medicine. The intellectual property comprises approximately 80 patents belonging to three areas of scientific focus:

  • Identification of a Circuit of Autoimmune Inflammation.
  • Manipulation of Immune Mechanisms for Therapeutic Purposes, Epitope-Specific Immunotherapy.
  • A Novel Technology for Cell Manipulation.


Translational Medicine

Bringing scientific discoveries from conception to the point where they may be used to directly benefit patients is a field of research that has grown over the years. Albani has been one of the leaders in this area, known as translational research or translational medicine, for much of his career, both in practice and in principle.

  • During his tenure at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Albani founded and developed the Translational Research Unit of the Clinical Investigation Institute.
  • In order to move a key scientific finding of the Albani Laboratory to more advanced stages of development, Albani founded a biotech company called Androclus Therapeutics, Inc. This experience contributed to a broader understand of the drug development process and the interface of academia, business and governmental bodies. Importantly, it also lead to a critical evaluation of the itinerary of translational medicine and the entities which shape funding, regulation and, ultimately, bringing therapies to market. He served as Chairman and Director on various Boards.
  • Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine. One of the areas of neglect in translational medicine is the lack of comprehensive education at an international level that prepares a researcher for the challenges which he or she will face along the drug development path. To this end, Albani co-founded the Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine. Eureka hosted a consensus conference, which brought together leaders in different research disciplines as well as from other critical fields, such as publishing, government, business, academia and legal enterprises. The Institute developed the framework for an innovative certificate program in translational medicine. In addition, the founders and board are further developing the activities of the institute, which has included hosting the inaugural certificate program and developing the second annual installment for a new group of applicants. Eureka represents an important initiative based on the principles of collaboration and international cooperation.


A Network of Collaboration

The Albani Lab operates on the principal that a key to success is creating and nurturing a network by which science can thrive. We’ve applied this principal in the founding of the CARRA Network mentioned above, and further in participating in a multi-center, national Trial for Early and Aggressive Treatment in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (TREAT). The TREAT network utilizes the experience and expertise as well as the resources of clinicians and researchers, universities and clinics.

Beyond this, the Albani Lab has developed international collaborations with other leaders in the field. Such collaborations provide the ideal foundation for synergistic research pursuits, access to additional expertise with advanced technologies and precious biological specimens and subjects. We celebrate and thank the Translational Immunology Lab at the University Medical Center Utrecht for its longstanding partnership.
PI’s and Key staf members and expertise:

Clinical & Lab:
Salvatore Albani, MD, PhD
Pediatric Rheumatology /
Translational Immunology
Clinical Trials
Manipulation of adaptive
autoimmunity for therapeutic
Theragnostics for functional
stratification of patients
Technology Developmen

Jessica Colomb, BA
Business strategy
Grant writing and administration
Project management and coordination
International / Multi-site collaboration

Maryam Moshref
Histopathology in Oral Cancer
Cytotoxicity of natural killer cells against an MN1-
overexpressing AML cell line
Blood processing (PBMC and Plasma)
Molecular experiments (DNA-RNA extraction, Bisulfate
conversion, Purification, TaqMan)
Pathway analysis

Maura Rossetti, PhD
Efects of immune-modulatory compounds
Immunological response of human dendritic cells
Predictive markers of response to the therapy in children
with juvenile idiopathic arthritis
T-cell immunology and regulation
Optimizing protocols in patient samples

Roberto Spreafico, PhD
Molecular signals mediating dendritic cell-natural
killer cell interactions
T-cell responses
academia and the pharma collaboration
Translational research
Immunological signatures of therapy in patients
Optimizing protocols in patient samples

Hong Zhang, PhD
Neutralizing antigenic determinants on the spike protein
of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARSCoV)
Self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells
Molecular and cellular mechanisms, and T-cell regulation
in MS
Target validation, multiple sclerosis
Mechanisms of induction and maintenance of immune
tolerance in autoimmunity