The Sanford Project selects new leader

 Dr. Eckhard U. Alt is new Todd and Linda Broin Distinguished Professor and Chair


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Sanford Health’s initiative to cure type 1 diabetes has chosen a world-renown physician, researcher and inventor as its new leader. Eckhard U. Alt, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed to oversee The Sanford Project as its Todd and Linda Broin Distinguished Professor and Chair.

Alt replaces Alex Rabinovitch, M.D., who recently retired.

The Todd and Linda Broin Distinguished Professor and Chair position was established in 2008 after a $10 million donation from the Broin family of Sioux Falls. The gift provides salary support, research and recruitment of scientists for The Sanford Project, a cornerstone initiative of Sanford Research that is looking for a type 1 diabetes cure.

“Dr. Alt is an innovator who has introduced many new therapies to clinical practice that have influenced the practice of modern medicine,” said David Pearce, Ph.D., president of Sanford Research. “Sanford Research and The Sanford Project want the best minds in medicine and science working on a cure for type 1 diabetes.”

A global expert in regenerative medicine, Alt holds more than 650 patents in the field. He has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed journal articles, books and book chapters. In addition to leading The Sanford Project, Alt will retain his roles as professor of medicine at Technische Universität in Munich and professor at Tulane University. He will also continue to serve as chairman of the board for InGeneron, Inc., a company that develops cell-based technologies for health care and veterinary and life science research.

“Regenerative medicine holds great promise in the field of medicine, especially in the context of type 1 diabetes where the body must create beta cells to produce insulin,” said Alt. “In research, accelerating application to clinical practice is critical to improving the quality of life for those managing conditions like type 1 diabetes.”

Alt received his medical degree from Heidelberg Medical School in Germany, where he was valedictorian. He completed additional training at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and Rechts der Isar Medical Center of the Technische Universität Munich.

Alt will lead a 20-member research team focusing on slowing the mechanisms that cause beta cells to die and leveraging the body’s natural ability to regenerate new beta cells through the use of stem cells. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a loss of beta cells, which create insulin.

For more information on The Sanford Project, visit sanfordresearch.org.

About Sanford Research 
Sanford Research is a non-profit research organization and is part of Sanford Health, an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas. Sanford Health is one of the largest health systems in the nation with a presence in nine states and three countries. More than $600 million in gifts from Denny Sanford has provided for an expansion of research initiatives in type 1 diabetes, breast cancer and genomics in internal medicine.

With a team of more than 200 researchers, Sanford Research comprises several research centers, including Children’s Health Research, Edith Sanford Breast Center, Cancer Biology, Center for Health Outcomes and Prevention and Sanford Sports Science Institute.