La Jolla Institute for Immunology

Life Without Disease

La Jolla, CA   |  www.lji.org

Mission

The La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to improving human health and fighting disease through cutting-edge immunology research.  The Institute's discoveries are advancing progress toward the prevention, treatment and cure of a broad array of diseases ranging from type 1 diabetes to infectious diseases to cancer.

Ruling year info

1989

President & Chief Executive Officer

Erica Ollmann Saphire Ph.D.

Main address

9420 Athena Circle

La Jolla, CA 92037 USA

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EIN

33-0328688

NTEE code info

Other Medical Research N.E.C. (H99)

Biological, Life Science Research includes Marine Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Biotechnology, etc.) (U50)

Asthma (G61)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The advent of life without disease has been dreamed about for hundreds of years, a brighter day that might come along someday. And it turns out that the mission of LJI holds the key to life without disease. Our sole focus is the immune system, because we believe the best medicine we can take is already within us - if we learn how to harness its power. When viewed through the lens of immunology, there are only two types of disease: in the first, the immune system fails to stop invaders, allowing infections and tumors to gain a foothold in the body. In the second, an overzealous immune system overshoots its target, giving rise to chronic inflammation, allergies and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Advancing basic science is critical for treatments, advancements, and cures to diseases that impact us all.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Life Without Disease

Regarded as one of the leading immunology research institutes in the world, LJI brings to bear a comprehensive research effort to understand the diverse aspects of immune-mediated diseases and to bring about further progress towards new therapies to help the millions affected by these disorders.

The Institute is home to about 20 independent laboratories, each operated by a leading scientist who oversees research efforts to analyze immune system functioning. Supporting these efforts are the Institute’s approximately 400 employees - half of whom hold doctoral degrees (Ph.D. or M.D) from numerous countries around the world. 

The Institute receives the majority of its funding through competitive research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is growing its philanthropic opportunities to fulfill priority needs. This includes funding for new areas of research, cutting-edge technologies and continuing recruitment of the very best scientists.

The Institute is guided by a Board of Directors, which has included three members of the National Academy of Sciences. A scientific advisory board of distinguished outside specialists conducts annual evaluations of scientific progress and reviews future research objectives.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

LJI 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.

What sets LJI apart can be described in a single word:

Focus.

The immune system itself is the centerpiece of research at the Institute. Every aspect of the immune system is under investigation. Advances in one research area are quickly applied to propelling research in another.

Carefully selected for their ability, inventiveness, and dedication, approximately 20 immunology research global leaders—in collaboration with about 400 staff—work together at LJI to deliver on the promise of Life Without Disease. Researchers are energized by a collaborative environment that maximizes results by minimizing bureaucracy.

The Institute also prepares—and inspires—the next generation of researchers. The post-doctoral fellowship program teams young Ph.D.s with veteran investigators; the summer internship program offers early career-students hands-on experience with the rewards of transforming someday into today.

• LJI is on the forefront of generating personalized cancer vaccines.
LJI has developed a personalized cancer vaccine based on an improved method of identifying mutated cancer proteins that can stimulate a protective anti-cancer response. In close collaboration with the UC San Diego Moores Cancer, a clinical trial depending on this method has received FDA approval and a second trial using the method, in collaboration with a biotech company will follow soon.

• LJI is breaking new ground in the treatment of many inflammatory diseases.
Many LJI labs are working together and pioneering in investigations of a family of molecules called TNF proteins, some of which were discovered here. Pioneering research on the function of these proteins led to the development of biologic drugs in clinical trials for the treatment of asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

• LJI research is making new vaccines possible.
LJI is on the front lines of developing vaccines for infectious diseases that have proven to be resistant to vaccination such as HIV, dengue, Zika and others. LJI scientists discovered a crucial cell type responsible for promoting lifelong protection and the molecular mechanism or switch required for initiating it.

• LJI is a global technology leader in the big data revolution that will transform human health.
LJI has developed one-of-a-kind tools for the world that analyze the human immune response to infectious organisms, allergy-causing substances and other things that stimulate the immune system. It contains information on nearly half a million molecules with information from 20,000 papers and the software has been licensed by 36 companies.

• LJI found a new target for attacking Parkinson’s disease.
The cause of the neurodegenerative disease known as Parkinson’s is unknown, but LJI researchers found the first direct evidence that Parkinson’s may be an autoimmune disorder mediated by T cells.

• LJI is pioneering cutting-edge methods for unraveling the causes of Type 1 Diabetes.
In ground breaking studies from the network of pancreatic organ donors, they found evidence for possible chronic viral infections in the pancreas of type I diabetes patients, pinpointing a potential trigger of the disease.

• LJI is uncovering how diet influences the immune system.
LJI scientists discovered that a vitamin A metabolite provides an additional signal that helps determine the balance between pro-inflammatory immunity.

• LJI is developing the first vaccine to prevent heart disease.
LJI researchers are developing a heart vaccine that decreased arterial plaques in models, even when put on a high fat diet.

• LJI researchers are global influencers.
LJI is one of the top 5 immunology research organizations world-wide, comparing favorably to Harvard, Yale, Stanford and others (Thomson-Reuters). Papers with the LJI byline are cited thousands of times each by scientists around the world.

Financials

La Jolla Institute for Immunology
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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La Jolla Institute for Immunology

Board of directors
as of 03/28/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Gail Naughton

Histogen, Inc.

Richard Bodman

Managing Partner, VMS Group; Chairman, TDF Ventures

David Brenner, M.D.

Vice Chancellor, San Diego Health Sciences UC; Dean, School of Medicine, UC San Diego

Anthony "Tony" Carr

Managing Partner, Carlo Development

Michael Coit

President, MDC Investments; President, Finco Development, Inc.

David Dominguez

CEO, The Andrew Lauren Company

Robert Dynes, Ph.D.

President Emeritus, University of California; Former Chancellor, UC San Diego

Francois Ferré, Ph.D.

Co-CEO and Co-founder, ALMA Lifesciences, LLC; Co-chairman and Co-founder, AltheaDX

Geneviève Tremblay Jacobs

Science and Health Advocate; Owner and Founder, GenJoue LLC

Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer, La Jolla Institute for Immunology

Robert Mahley, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Investigator/President Emeritus, J. David Gladstone Institutes

Gail Naughton, Ph.D., MBA

Chairman and CEO, Histogen, Inc.

Mitsuo Satoh, Ph.D.

Vice President and Executive Officer, Head of R&D, Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd.

Sandor Shapery

Founder, Shapery Enterprises

Larry Spitcaufsky

Owner and Director Petroleum Technologies Inc.

Tom Tullie

Executive Chairman, Everyone Counts, Inc.

Pamela Wasserman, MPH

Co-General Partner Wasserman Companies

David Webb, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor, The Scripps Research Institute

John Major

Chair Emeritus

David Rickey

Principal, Rickey Enterprises, LLC

Carolee Lee

Founder, Women's Health Access Matters (WHAM), Founder and CEO, AccessCircles

J. Mark Waxman, J.D.

Retired Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP

Paul Thiel, M.B.A.

President, Northern Trust Wealth Management, San Diego Region

Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer, La Jolla Institute for Immunology

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/28/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

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