Salk Institute

President's Club Annual Holiday Luncheon

On December 5, 2013, President's Club members attended the annual holiday luncheon hosted by Salk president, Bill Brody. Martin Hetzer, professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Lab, gave a presentation titled, The Brain's Achilles Heel: Old Proteins. Hetzer studies developmental and pathological changes in the organization and functions of the cell nucleus as it relates to aging. Dr. Brody spoke about the Healthy Aging initiative of the Campaign for Salk, an effort that supports research that examines the development of chronic diseases of aging. To learn more about the President's Club, please visit or call (858) 453-4100 x 1405.

Click here to view the video of the event»

San Diego Salkexcellerators - Metabolism and Microbial Balance

On November 13, the San Diego Salkexcellerators gathered at the Institute for a special evening featuring two of Salk's esteemed scientists : Assistant Professor, Janelle S. Ayres and Associate Professor, Satchidananda Panda. The evening's program, "Metabolism and Microbial Balance," highlighted discoveries that have changed our thinking about combating disease through eating patterns and stabilizing our immune response with healthy bacteria.

For more information, please contact Megan Shockro at 858 453-4100 ext. 1405 or visit

Salk Science & Music Series - Naomi Kudo and Greg Lemke

Naomi Kudo and Greg Lemke

The six concert series, provides a venue for outstanding performances from the most talented emerging musicians, in addition to including scientific presentations of the latest scientific discoveries occurring in Salk labs. The second performance in the series featured pianist Naomi Kudo, winner of the 2007 Chopin Prize and several other awards along with Salk scientist Greg Lemke from the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory. Click here to view videos of this event>>

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New York Salkexcellerators - Cancers are Addicted to Sugar: Targeting Their Demise with Metabolism Drugs

The New York Salkexcellerators gathered at the private Norwood Club in Chelsea for a special evening featuring Salk Associate Professor, Reuben Shaw. In Reuben's talk, "Cancers are Addicted to Sugar: Targeting Their Demise with Metabolism Drugs," he shared his exciting findings that could lead to new treatments for cancer using existing diabetes drugs.

For more information, please contact Megan Shockro at 858 453-4100 ext. 1405 or visit

Salk Science & Music Series - Sean Chen & Fred Gage

Sean Chen and Fred Gage

Prompted by a magnificent gift of Steinway Concert Grand #191 from generous Salk benefactor Conrad Prebys, the Salk Institute organized a music series that melds both amazing science and inspiring music for the San Diego community. The first performance featured pianist Sean Chen, 2013 DeHaan Classical Fellow and 2013 Van Cliburn Crystal Winner along with Salk scientist Fred Gage from the Laboratory of Genetics. Click here to view videos of this event>>

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Back to Basics

Spicing Up Alzheimer's Drug Discovery
Marguerite Prior, Ph.D.

Back to Basics

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by cognitive decline resulting from the progressive loss of nerve cells in areas of the brain responsible for memory. Despite extensive research there is currently no effective treatment or cure for Alzheimer's disease. Our laboratory has developed a novel drug discovery scheme that uses living neurons grown in laboratory dishes to test new synthetic compounds for effectiveness at protecting brain cells. Based upon these assays, we have recently identified a very potent compound with strong potential to be an Alzheimer's disease therapeutic by slowing disease progression through neuroprotection as well as providing rapid benefits to memory by reversing memory deficits. We are trying to get this drug into clinical trials in the near future.

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Salk Women & Science

Ursula Bellugi, professor and director of the Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience, discussed her research with the presentation, "Williams Syndrome: A Model for Linking Genes, Neural Systems, and Social Phenotypes."

For more information on the Salk Women & Science program, please visit:

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San Diego Salkexcellerators - Modeling Psychiatric Disease with Human Stem Cells

The San Diego Salkexcellerators enjoyed a scientific presentation by professor Fred "Rusty" Gage, "Modeling Psychiatric Disease with Human Stem Cells" on May 15 at the Institute.

Dr. Gage, professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and holder of the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Disease, described how his laboratory researches neurological and psychiatric diseases using in vitro human stem cells.

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Salk Alumni Mixer

Salk faculty, postdocs, graduate students and local alumni gathered on May 14 to attend the first-ever Alumni Mixer hosted by the Institute. Professor Chris Kintner, the chair of the faculty, welcomed guests and acknowledged how important it is to bring our Salk community together. Professor Geoff Wahl also spoke about how 100% of contributions to the Alumni-Faculty Fellowship Fund allow us to support a young scientist each year. The 2013 fellowship recipient, Research Associate Kevin Curran, presented his early-stage work in behavioral neurobiology; specifically, the cellular and genetic mechanisms of behavior using C. elegans, a small invertebrate model system. The evening also featured several young Salk scientists who provided poster sessions on current research in their labs.

If you would like to update your contact information or learn more about alumni activities please contact Megan Shockro at

NY Salkexcellerators

On April 22, the New York Salkexcellerators gathered at the Norwood Club for a private reception and scientific presentation. Greg Lemke gave a fascinating talk, titled, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Taming Viruses and Autoimmune Disease."

Dr. Lemke, professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory and holder of the Françoise Gilot-Salk Chair, studies the regulation of signaling networks that control immune system function that effect our understanding of autoimmune diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as West Nile, influenza, and Dengue viruses.


For more information on the SALKexCELLerators, please visit:

Step into Discovery


We're elated that Step into Discovery Day exceeded our expectations! The Walk for Salk* was a huge success—we surpassed our Walk fundraising goal by almost $10,000! Despite a bit of gray weather, 700 walkers completed the route, and close to 800 visitors toured our campus. They enjoyed the offerings of our vendors and asked terrific questions at our Dynamic Brain, Healthy Aging, Cancer and Genomic Medicine booths. Our Education Outreach Program gave children the opportunity to plant seeds, draw brains and make double helixes out of pipe cleaners.

Finally, we want to especially thank our scientists, many of whom stayed long past their allotted time slots to answer questions from rapt visitors.

The Salk Institute was originally funded by the March of Dimes, so it was tremendously gratifying that the walk took place the day after the 58th anniversary of the public announcement of Jonas Salk's polio virus vaccine. We maintain our connection to survivors of this devastating disease in our online community Polio Today, which we invite you to read as a tribute to them. Every day, their optimism and tenacity inspires our work.

Back to Basics

Harry Anthony and Satchin Panda

Salk supporters gathered for the latest Back to Basics lecture on April 3, 2013, where Marc Montminy, professor in the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, kicked off the event by sharing his lab's latest research on metabolism. His informative lecture ranged from general information about the human diet and activity over the last millennia to the growing obesity epidemic of the present.

Satchin Panda of Salk's regulatory Biology Laboratory followed with a fascinating talk on circadian rhythms and their complex implications on diet and metabolism. Both presentations prompted many questions from the audience, including one from friend of Salk, Harry Anthony (pictured above), seen here engaged in an animated conversation with Panda at the reception.

 If you would like to receive an invitation to attend the next "Back to Basics" lecture, please click here>>

Salk Women & Science

Guests were treated to presentations from two Plant Biology faculty members. Joanne Chory, director of the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory and holder of the Howard H. and Maryam R. Newman Chair in Plant Biology, started the program with her presentation, "Seven Billion and Counting: How do we feed and fuel the planet?" Julie Law, Assistant Professor in the Plant Biology Laboratory followed with her presentation, "Epigenetics: Basic science with broad implications for agriculture and human disease."

For more information on the Salk Women & Science program, please visit:

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Partners in Research

Tom Albright

At the annual gathering of Salk's Partners in Research members, Dr. Marsha Chandler discussed the exciting progress of Salk's first campaign and explained the various initiatives that this will fund and the impact that we hope it will make. Dr. Tom Albright, faculty chair at Salk, highlighted some of the fascinating discoveries that were made in our labs over the past year.

Click here to view the videos of the event>>



Viruses, Genes and Cancer: Four Decades of a Lucky Journey with Inder Verma

San Diego Salkexcellerators and guests enjoyed delicious fare provided by Pamplemousse Grille and an informative scientific presentation from Professor, Inder Verma.

One of the major interests of Dr. Verma's lab is understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer and the role of inflammation, which is the underlying cause of many diseases.

Click to watch Inder Verma's talk

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