LJI Board of Directors welcomes four new members

Institute strengthens its leadership going into 2023

LA JOLLA, CA—La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) has welcomed four new members to the Institute’s Board of Directors: Congresswoman Susan Davis, philanthropist and research advocate Barbara Donnell, pioneering cellular and molecular biologist Sandra Schmid, Ph.D., and leading immunologist and science policy expert Linda Sherman, Ph.D.

“We’ve all seen the amazing impact of collaboration in the sciences,” says LJI Board Chair Gail K. Naughton, Ph.D., M.B.A. “By expanding the Board and bringing these experts together with the strength of our already existing board of directors, LJI has distinguished itself as a true powerhouse for life-saving research.”

Susan Davis Congressmember Susan Davis is a former American politician who served as the U.S. representative for California’s 53rd congressional district for ten terms from 2001 to 2021. She holds a masters’ degree in social work and has been an outspoken supporter of health equity and patients’ rights. As a member of Congress, provisions of an OB/GYN bill she authored were included in the health care reform bill enacted into law. Her roles in Congress include leadership as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development and as a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Barbara Donnell is a San Diego-based philanthropist and type one diabetes (T1D) patient parent advocate. Through her work on behalf of T1D research, Donnell is an invaluable member of the San Diego biomedical sciences community. Her work includes coordination of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation/LJI “Meet the Scientists Day” for T1D patients and their families. She has also devoted her time and expertise to coaching early career researchers through the application process for the Tullie and Rickey Families SPARK Awards for Innovations in Immunology.

Sandra Schmid Sandra Schmid, Ph.D., is a renowned cellular and molecular biologist who has worked to uncover the molecular mechanisms and regulation of clathrin-mediated endocytosis, a process in cells that controls nutrient uptake, cell signaling, and the surface expression of membrane transporters. Her honors include a National Institutes of Health MERIT Award, the William C. Rose Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and election to the American Academy of Arts of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. In 2020, Schmid became the inaugural Chief Scientific Officer of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.

Linda Sherman Linda Sherman, Ph.D., is a former President of the American Academy of Immunology and Professor Emeritus at Scripps Research, where her laboratory shed light on how T cells respond to threats such as tumor cells. Sherman has served the national scientific community extensively as a member of numerous NIH committees and National Advisory Councils designed to review grant applications and write policy on federal funding priorities. Her leadership in the local community includes involvement in the early growth and direction of a successful San Diego charitable organization, Kids Included Together, which provides opportunities for inclusion of children with developmental disabilities in child care, after school, and recreational programs.

“I am delighted to see the LJI Board grow even stronger with the inclusion of these four leaders in the health and science communities,” says LJI President and CEO Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D. “Each of these new board members is an expert in a different aspect of biomedical research, funding, and advocacy. The Institute is fortunate to have their guidance.”

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About La Jolla Institute

The La Jolla Institute for Immunology is dedicated to understanding the intricacies and power of the immune system so that we may apply that knowledge to promote human health and prevent a wide range of diseases. Since its founding in 1988 as an independent, nonprofit research organization, the Institute has made numerous advances leading toward its goal: life without disease. Visit lji.org for more information.