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The Burnham Institute Gala 2005 Page 1

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Society Whispers October 12th, 2005
By Margo Schwab

Scientists, Mermaids, and Muffy, Mingle "Under the Sea" at The Burnham Institute

"The Burnham Institute has a single mission - to perform outstanding basic discovery research in the life-sciences area." That's the message from The Burnham Institute's John C. Reed, President, CEO, a science leader with a PH.D. and MD., and the husband of pretty Muffy Walker, this year's Gala's Chairperson. But we will get back to the last part.

The Burnham Institute has more than 550 brilliant scientists delving into research on cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurological conditions. This year's gala fundraiser event's recipient categories are The Burnham Institute's arthritis programs in conjunction with the Center for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases.

It's a team effort at The Burnham Institute to solve life-science issues and it was a team effort to formulate this year's black tie fundraiser. John Reed's wife Muffy didn't "go to town" organizing the gala, but rather to the ocean. The theme for this event last Saturday was "Under the Sea" and Muffy went all out. Guests, at the transformed Burnham Institute, were greeted by mermaids in plastic air bubbles and human's costumed as jellyfish. Muffy was exemplar of an undersea princess in a flowing, shimmering, light turquoise gown. Spectacular. The event was too!

Lots of Burnhams were there, including Malin and Roberta, Esther, Cathe, Marybeth and John with Laurie Vanden Berg. Malin Burnham has been a formidable and generous funding member of The Burnham Institute since 1996.

Also there enjoying the aquatic fun were beautiful Sheri and Dr. Stuart Jamieson (the genius UCSD cardio surgeon behind heart and lung transplants), Lina and David Hale, Nancy and Matt Brower, Ken Woolcott, Diane and Robert Winokur of San Francisco, Karen and Stuart Tanz, Bobbi and Bill Warren, Armi and Albert Williams, Sheila and Jeff Lipinski and Lisa and Dr. Stuart Lipton. Dr. Lipton is working on ground breaking aging research at Burnham…. Nobel Prize consideration research is the buzz.

Amidst the tuxedos and gowns were Nancy and Ray Funderbunk, Joan and Brent Jacobs, Carla and Fernando Guiteriez, Lyn and Stephen Krant, Doug Manchester, Carrie and Sia Pakroo, Diane Triemstra, Carol and Larry Viet, Linden Blue of General Atomic, Judy and Jack White and Congresswoman Susan Davis and Dr. Steve Davis.

Among the Burnham Institute faculty there in addition to Dr. Stuart Lipton included Robert Liddington, the Acting Director of the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center, Tomas Mustelin, the Professor and Director of the Burnham's Program on Inflammatory Diseases, Evan Snyder, the Director of the Stem Cells and Regeneration Program, and Professor Jeffrey Smith. All brilliant like a phosphorous red tide in the moonlight!

Among those enjoying Pamplemousse perfection canapés by Jeffrey Strauss were Caroline and Nico Nirenberg (he's Chairman of the Board for The Burnham Institute), Gina Dronet, Karin and Gary Eastham, Lynn Gorguze and Scott Peters, Joan and Brent Jacobs, Sophia and Leon Kassel, and Reinette and Marvin Levine. Also there were Greg Lucier, he's the Chairman and CEO of Invitrogen, the event's title sponsor, Marilena Lucier, Denyse and Tim Browne who flew in from San Francisco, Toby and Howard Cohen, Drs. Jeannie and Gregg Fontana of Bel Air and Marleigh and Alan Gleicher.

Dining was "under the sea" themed with aquarium accents, fish wine goblets and crab croissants before a superlative dinner by Pamplemousse's Jeffrey Strauss. The live auction alone raised in excess of $600,000 with temptations of private chefs and private jets.

Dancing was full throttle to the group Left4Dead. Some of the many very alive crew dancing were Roberta and Malin Burnham. They were on the dance floor all night and so were many others, all doing double helix, atomic groove maneuvers! Only positive ions and duos here.

Architect James Ferguson of McGraw Baldwin Architects (part of the firm that designed a recent addition to the Burnham buildings) was there with his girlfriend Linda. James had told Linda to dress fancy for her birthday surprise that evening and be ready to dance. And dance they did, one of their favorites things to do. It was quite a birthday for Linda, and quite a festive celebration for a very important cause.

Arthritis affects nearly 30 million Americans currently at a health care cost of approximately 50 billion per year …. Or one Bill Gates net worth!

But seriously, rheumatoid arthritis alone affects over 2.5 million Americans. Rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks one's own body. Other autoimmune diseases are juvenile diabetes, Chrohn's disease, muscular sclerosis and lupus.

One disease that, ironically, attacks everyone who is fortunate enough to live for a long time, is osteoarthritis, or disease of the aging. This occurs when cartilage-producing cells in our bodies fade and die, leaving bones to grind on bones in our bodies….. this will one day change with the goals that The Burnham Institute has set.

As John C. Reed says, "from our research comes the power to cure".

To learn more about The Burnham Institute please visit

Special thank you's to Sante's Ristorante, Roppongi's Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Fresh Restaurant, Sammy's Woodfired Pizza, Nine-Ten Restaurant, Harry's Coffee Shop, Center for Community Solutions, George's At The Cove, Blackhorse Grille, La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre, artist Colleen Ross, La Jolla SpaMD,, The Marine Room & Chef Bernard Guillas, Scalini's Restaurant & Polo Bar, Sbicca's Bistro, Regions Restaurant, The Genesis Awards 2005, Casa Malibu, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Symbolic Motor Car Company, Bowers Jewelers, ChasaRae Custom Designs!







Copyright Margo Schwab 2005. All rights protected.