Torrey Pines Leadership Development Program at SBP

August 2018 - June 2019

This premier leadership development program at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) is designed for early career PhDs on the Torrey Pines Mesa. In this program, participants will learn more about their leadership styles and preferences, and the leadership styles and preferences of others, towards understanding how they and their future teams can succeed. Certificates will be awarded to participants who complete all program requirements.

Learning Objectives

  • Become more aware of your leadership strengths and leadership style
  • Understand others' leadership styles and how to work with them for mutual benefit
  • Determine the strengths you have and how they align with your leadership style
  • Learn how to effectively communicate and manage conflict with your team
  • Create your Individual Leadership Development Plan

Program Outline

    Understanding Yourself

  • Module 1: Who is a Leader? Understanding Your Unique Value - Part 1
  • Module 2: Understanding Your Unique Value - Part 2
  • Understanding Others

  • Module 3: Understanding the Unique Value of Others
  • Module 4: Understanding Conflict
  • Module 5: Communication as a Tool for Managing Challenges
  • Module 6: Communication as a Tool for Building Better Relationships
  • Developing as a Leader

  • Module 7: Emerging as a Leader
  • Module 8: Understanding your Impact as a Leader
  • Module 9: Building a Highly Effective Team
  • Module 10: Creating Your Individual Leadership Development Plan

  • Module 11: Program Finale


The 2018-2019 program cohort includes 39 postdoctoral scholars and advanced graduate students. Participants will attend classroom-style modules (4 hours each, Friday mornings starting at 9:00 am) every month, and engage in discussions and assigned projects in between modules. Participants will work in groups to develop a program project for presentation at the finale. See Program Timeline for more information.

Program Director
Diane Klotz, PhD
Director, SBP's Office of Education, Training, & International Services

Dr. Diane Klotz is Director of the Office of Education, Training, & International Services (OETIS) at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) in La Jolla, CA. In this position Diane oversees scientific career education and professional development programs for SBP’s graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, participates in institute-wide efforts in strategic planning with respect to education and training initiatives, and serves as an advisor to executive leadership on education and training policy.

Diane received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Tulane University, and pursued her postdoctoral research training at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS, NIH). Diane’s research focused on cross-talk between steroid hormone receptor and growth-factor signaling pathways in the female reproductive tract. Outside the lab, Diane served as a member and chair of the NIEHS Trainees Assembly Steering Committee, and was a member and chair of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) policy committee. She subsequently served as a member and chair of the NPA Board of Directors, and she remains active with the NPA as a member of the NPA Advisors. Diane recently served on the NIH study sections for the NIH BEST Award program, and she is currently a member of the NIH BEST Award External Scientific Panel of advisors. In addition to her research education, Diane is a certified DiSC® facilitator, MBTI® practitioner, is undergoing BASIC Training in Conflict Management with the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument, and is also currently pursuing a Mindful Executive Certificate.

Diane’s career path has been shaped by her observations of and experiences with how scientific organizations function and how scientific leaders strive to effect change and make progress. Her focus in the education and training of scientists at all levels and in all career paths is on helping scientists find their voices as high impact leaders who are able to guide their teams with compassion, clarity, vision, and intent. Towards this end, she has worked with individuals, academic labs and departments, professional associations, and biotechnology companies towards developing effective leaders, collaborative teams, and cultures that support them.

Nisha Cavanaugh, PhD
Manager, Postdoctoral & Academic Programs

Dr. Nisha Cavanaugh is the Manager of Postdoctoral and Academic Programs, within SBP's OETIS. In this role, Nisha oversees the administration of career and professional development programming for SBP postdoctoral scholars and graduate students. Additionally, she collaborates with OETIS staff and with the SBP Science Network to design new professional development workshops, programs and opportunities to enhance the postdoctoral experience at SBP.

Nisha received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she elucidated the primase-polymerase enzyme mechanism in Herpes Simplex Virus-1 DNA replication initiation. As a postdoc at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), she analyzed the structure-function relationship of DNA polymerase beta and the misincorporation of ribonucleotides during DNA repair. Her interest to encourage postdocs and graduate students to explore PhD career paths stems from her own postdoctoral experience and time spent as Chair of the NIEHS Trainees Assembly, the NIEHS postdoctoral association. Prior to joining the OETIS staff, she was the Director of NC State University’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Andrew Bankston, PhD
Program Manager, Graduate School of Biomedical Science

Dr. Andrew Bankston is the Program Manager for the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) in La Jolla, CA. Andrew builds relationships with local institutions and companies to provide new training opportunities for their students/employees, create opportunities for SBP students, and find the next group of talented SBP graduate students. He also provides one-on-one services to students in support of many aspects of their graduate careers and collaborates with other members of the OETIS team to help develop training workshops and programs specifically for SBP graduate students.

Andrew received his PhD in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology from Emory University where he uncovered new regulatory pathways regulating development of myelin in the brain. He then studied the role of autophagy in myelin development and repair at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center until joining SBP in 2017. Through his involvement with the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), first as the Outreach Committee Chair and now as a member of the Board of Directors, Andrew deepened his interest in graduate student and postdoc training that began with his own training experience. His passion for mentoring and training of young scientists has always had a strong influence on his career path and is a large part of his current role.

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Letizia Amadini-Lane, Pharm.D.

Letizia Amadini-Lane, Pharm.D., is Vice President, Strategic Alliances and oversees key partnerships to maximize value to SBP and lead transformational initiatives within business development that align individuals, teams, and partners to deliver organizational goals.

Prior to joining SBP, Amadini-Lane spent 15 years at GSK, most recently as Vice President/Global Head, Employee Value Proposition where she led strategic planning and implementation to build engagement and sustain enterprise-wide alignment. In previous vice president positions, she established the Center of Excellence and best practices in global business development for the R&D product pipeline and was responsible for early- and late-stage collaborations.

Earlier in her career, Amadini-Lane served as a pharmaceutical consultant to international public health care organizations and was an executive at Fidia Pharmaceutical Corporation.

Amadini-Lane received her Doctor of Pharmacy from University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy, a Master in Herbal Medicine from University of Urbino, and she is an Executive Coach certified ICF (International Coaching Federation).

Andrew Ball, MS

Andy is an award-winning educator and learning expert with more than twenty years of experience helping individuals and groups do their best. He has an adult education credential from the University of Cambridge and a Master of Science in Learning and Change from Northwestern.

Andy leads the human design practice at Cognitive DESIGNLAB where he focuses on the social and psychological aspects of learning. He also utilizes design thinking to solve a variety of complex challenges at Cognitive DESIGNLAB and through work with the University of San Diego and IDEO U. He trusts that design thinking, when combined with an understanding of human perception, can create solutions to the most pressing social and work challenges. He has catalyzed start-up projects, technology implementations, school and curriculum innovation, and employee/student experience and engagement.

Andy is from England, has worked and studied in Japan, and lives in San Diego. If you are interested in learning more about yourself, more about others, and creating more inclusive experiences and solutions, Andy is happy to facilitate the inqury process that will enable you to do so.


You MUST be an SBP Graduate Student OR a Postdoctoral Scholar/Staff Scientist/Research Assistant Professor at one of five institutions: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), La Jolla Institute For Allergy and Immunology (LJI), or the University of California San Diego. Graduate students MUST have passed their Qualifying Exam and be admitted to candidacy.

The program's cohort of peer emerging leaders will be committed to fully engage in all program activities and support their fellow participants.

Application Process:

To be accepted into the program, complete the application form in full. The parts of the application include:

  • General Demographic & Contact Information
  • Copy of CV (as a PDF file)
  • Statement (as a PDF file) that includes answers to:
    1. What is your motivation for participating in the SBP Leaders Program?
    2. What do you hope to gain from the SBP Leaders Program that will help you be successful immediately and in the future?
  • Acknowledge that you will participate in the program fully (attendance will be required for every module and completion of all assignments and projects)
  • Program cost ($120) covers assessments and all program materials (to be paid only if you are accepted into program).
Applications are now closed for the 2018-2019 program. Check back soon for more information about next year's program!
Contact us at if you have any questions.

Deadlines & Important Dates:

  • Week of July 23, 2018: Applicants will be notified if accepted into program
  • Monday, July 27, 2018: Deadline for participants to pay program fee
  • Friday, August 24, 2018: Torrey Pines Leadership Program begins