Salk Institute
Past Salk Events

Explore Salk 2015

Hundreds of science and Salk Institute enthusiasts came out for a day of fun and discovery at the third annual Explore Salk on April 11. Throughout the six-hour event, the campus was buzzing with activity. Lab tours were available to adults and teens; young attendees kept busy with hands-on activities in the Kids' Discovery Zone; and science booths, staffed by Salk scientists, offered highlights from specific research areas. Topping off the day were two science talks: one by Salk Assistant Professor Saket Navlakha and the other by special guest speaker Eric Topol.

Special thanks to all of the volunteers and staff who helped make Explore Salk a fun and educational event for the community. Many thanks also to our sponsors, including our title sponsors Merck, Kyxy 96.5 and Waxie for helping to make the day a tremendous success.

Global Health symposium, Perlman concert celebrates Salk's 100th birthday

The Salk Institute celebrated its founding father's 100th birthday in inimitable Salk style on November 13 with a global health symposium during the day and a private concert with violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman at night.

As the host of "Global Health Symposium: Viruses, Vaccines and Pandemics," Inder Verma welcomed prominent immunologists and virologists from the United States and Europe. The five guest speakers addressed poliovirus, viral diversity and Ebola, among other topics.

In the evening, nearly 300 invited guests were treated to a talk on pandemic prevention by Nathan Wolfe, founder and CEO of Metabiota, followed by Perlman's recital in remembrance of Jonas Salk. Rohan De Silva played the piano with the famed violinist as they performed classical works including Robert Schumann's "Three Fantasies" and John Williams' theme to "Schindler's List."

Following the concert, Irwin Jacobs, Salk's board chairman, presented Perlman with the Salk Institute Medal for Public Service, noting all he has done to help eradicate polio around the globe. Perlman is only the fifth person to receive the Salk award that is given to individuals who have contributed to science, medicine, public health or public service.


Salkexcellerators gathered on October 22 at the Institute to hear from new faculty member Alan Saghatelian. Alan, the first fully tenured professor to be hired by Salk in the last decade, spoke about his most recent findings to be published in Cell in November. At the reception, guests enjoyed gourmet fare provided by Pamplemousse and creative cocktails by Snake Oil Cocktail Company. During the evening's presentation, Alan explained how the use of Mass Spectrometry technology led to the discovery of an entirely new class of lipids produced in human fats that are associated with reduced symptoms of diabetes. This new class of lipids lowered elevated blood sugar levels that had the equivalent of type 2 diabetes and has positive implications for future treatment of the disease.

For more information on the Salkexcellerators program, visit or contact Megan Shockro at or (858) 453-4100 x1405. Please join us when we reconvene in January 2015.

Salk Women & Science

Nicola Allen, an assistant professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory and the Crick-Jacobs Center for Computational and Theoretical Biology, gave a presentation titled, "Astrocytes: A little-known brain cell with a big impact on autism and Alzheimer's." Dr. Allen described her studies of the more obscure, star-shaped cells called astrocytes, which make up 50 percent of the brain. The Allen lab explores how these enigmatic cells influence connections between neurons as the brain develops and ages. One of the lab's major goals is to find out if and how one could use proteins from astrocytes to encourage new connections to form between neurons in damaged or aging brains, potentially restoring brain function.

The lecture was hosted by Professor Sam Pfaff.

For more information on the Salk Women & Science program, visit or contact Elizabeth (Betsy) Reis at or 858 453-4100 x 1426.

Back to Basics Lecture Series

At the Back to Basics program this fall, Ron Evans, gave a talk titled "Nuclear Receptors and the Hunger Game: From Feast to Famine".

The ability to adapt to cycles of feast and famine is critical for survival. Communication between multiple organs must be integrated to properly metabolize nutrients. By controlling networks of genes in major metabolic organs, nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs) play central roles in this process.

Click here to view the video of the lecture»

If you would like to receive invitations to future Back to Basics lectures, please sign up here»

19th Annual Symphony at Salk

Song and dance man, Matthew Morrison performed with the San Diego Symphony for a magical evening under the stars at the 19th annual Symphony at Salk.

Salk Women & Science

Carol Marchetto is a Senior Staff Scientist in the Laboratory of Dr. Fred Gage at The Salk Institute. Carol gave a presentation titled "Using human pluripotent stem cells to model autism spectrum disorders." The lecture was hosted by Professor Ursula Bellugi.

For more information on the Salk Women & Science program, visit or contact Elizabeth (Betsy) Reis at or 858 453-4100 x 1426.


Salkexcellerators gathered in the iconic courtyard for an outdoor reception on May 29 at the final presentation of the season. Rebecca Newman, VP of External Relations, shared news about the San Diego program reaching a total of 45 families and raising a total of $70,000 towards the annual fellowship. Salk President, Dr. William R. Brody, who is considered an expert on health care reform, discussed the challenges of our nation's healthcare system. Followed by professor Chris Kintner who shared new findings on ways to diagnose and treat ciliopathies that may help generate new stem cell therapies to replace damaged tissues in the lung and other organs. Please join us when we reconvene in September.

For more information on the Salkexcellerators program, visit or contact Megan Shockro at or (858) 453-4100 x 1405.

42nd Annual Tax Seminar for Private Foundations

Charlotte Jones Anderson, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer of the Dallas Cowboys

Charlotte Jones Anderson, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer of the Dallas Cowboys, was the Keynote Speaker at the Salk Institute's 42nd Annual Tax and Management Seminar.

Jones Anderson described how she has used her managerial talents to leave a positive impact on the world by leveraging the NFL Cowboys' brand to raise awareness and funding for the Salvation Army and the NFL Foundation and the Jones family philanthropies.

The Salk's Annual Tax and Management Seminar provides an engaging forum for private foundations, and legal and financial professionals to learn about current developments in tax law and foundation management.

The Tax Seminar is also an opportunity to hear the latest on Salk Science. Presenter Terry Sejnowski, Professor and Laboratory Head of Salk's Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, who spoke on the BRAIN Initiative, summed up the mood at this year's Tax Seminar, saying that Salk provides an opportunity to "be a part of something large and important, something that will change the world."

Click here to view the Tax Seminar website»

Step into Discovery - Walk for Salk - Explore Salk

On April 12, 2014, the San Diego community was invited to participate in the Walk for Salk, a panoramic 5K, along a scenic Torrey Pines route. After the walk, visitors enjoyed the Explore Salk programs that offered exclusive, behind-the-scenes lab tours. The courtyard was filled with many informational booths and hands-on activities for children and adults, including presentations by the Salk Education Outreach program.

Back to Basics Lecture Series

At the March Back to Basics program, Dr. Suzanne Bourgeois discussed her newly published book, Genesis of the Salk Institute: the Epic of Its Founders. Dr. Bourgeois has a unique perspective since she was personally involved with the Institute from its inception.

Click here to view the video of the lecture»

If you would like to receive invitations to future Back to Basics lectures, please sign up here»

San Diego Science Festival

The Salk Institute enjoyed sharing science with a crowd of over 23,000 participants at the San Diego Science Festival last Saturday. A special thanks goes out to the McKahan Planning Group for sponsoring our Salk Mobile Science Lab booth, where future scientists took part in 683 DNA extractions. Salk's Step into Discovery booth, showcasing the upcoming Walk for Salk & Explore Salk events on April 12, also attracted many interested participants and volunteers.

Salk Women & Science

Janelle Ayres, assistant professor in the Nomis Foundation Laboratories for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, discussed her research with the presentation, "Good bugs vs bad bugs: Using the intestinal microbiota to treat infectious diseases." Dr. Ayres studies the defense strategies that enable a host cell to survive and even thrive when interacting with microbes. She provided some of the first evidence that tolerance is crucial for defense against infections in animals.

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

High School Science Day

Salk High School Science Day 2014

Salk Institute welcomed students from all over San Diego to the March of Dimes, High School Science Day. More than 200 students got the opportunity to attend presentations by Shrek Chalasani and our president, Bill Brody, and to tour Salk's research facilities.

Press coverage - Newspaper and web - San Diego Union Tribune»
Press coverage - TV - KUSI»

San Diego Salkexcellerators gain insights into plant biology

The theme was green at the February 26 meeting of the Salkexcellerators, when some 70 guests gathered to hear Joseph Noel, professor and director of Salk's Jack H. Skirball Center for Chemical Biology and Proteomics, speak about "The Green Revolution: Harvesting Vital Products from Plants." Noel, part of Salk's top-ranked plant biology program, addressed the role of the field in developing pharmaceuticals, boosting food production, protecting the environment and identifying new fuels. The evening of science, socializing and scrumptious fare also included remarks by Jonathan Nassi, recipient of the first Salkexcellerators postdoctoral fellowship, who described the importance of the fellowship to his career. Two lucky guests left with high-yield planter boxes they won in a raffle.

For more information on the Salkexcellerators program, visit or contact Megan Shockro at or (858) 453-4100 x 1405.

Partners in Research Lunch

Dr. Leah Boyer Partners in Research Lunch

This year members of Salk's legacy society, Partners in Research, were treated to a tour of the stem cell facility by the new assistant director, Dr. Leah Boyer. She gave a presentation on the various types of stem cells and her use of induced pluripotent stem cells on Parkinson's disease. Pictured are Dr. Boyer, Thomas Wittington, Betty Brock, Mary Elise Daly, Marna Wittington, and Wendy Brody.

Click here to view the video of the presentation»

The Art and Science of Cuisine

The Art and Science of Cuisine

An inaugural culinary event at the Salk Institute certain to whet appetites. Salk Science of Cuisine, fused the most recent scientific discoveries with novel kitchen theory, this celebration of food and science reinvigorated lifestyle choices and ushered in a new year of wellness. Click here to view videos of this event>>

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