Aging Research at the Salk Institute, a Multipronged Approach
The Salk Institute has a unique culture of interdisciplinary collaboration, fostered by interaction between research groups with multiple objectives. Unobstructed by departmental walls, investigators move beyond the focus of their laboratories to communicate across disciplines, tackle questions from multiple angles and accelerate the rate of discovery.
The Glenn Center for Research on Aging at the Salk Institute focuses on a three- level approach: whole systems biology, organ biology and cellular aging biology. Expertise on each level is required to understand aging, age related disease and the difference between healthy and pathological aging. Researchers at the Salk Institute are uniquely suited to such an interdependent model as they have a long history and record of a small and highly collaborative approach toward projects and questions that are too complex for individuals.
As a group, researchers have deep expertise in metabolism, organ and tissue regeneration, stem cell biology, neurobiology and neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation, telomere biology, senescence, genome stability, cancer biology, nuclear structure, genome organization and cell signaling. Free information exchange across these disciplines allows scientists to rapidly move between cells, organs and systems, enormously accelerating the rate of discovery and understanding. The Glenn Center, with its emphasis on multidisciplinary projects, is particularly situated to benefit from this culture of collaboration.
Healthy Aging and Age Related Disease
Understanding the biology of healthy aging is a major focus of the Salk Institute, and the Glenn Center for Research on Aging nucleates faculty interested in life span, health span and age-related disease.
The onset of age-related disease is often synergistic and limits the health span. How do reseachers generate an all-encompassing hypothesis for aging? Scientists are focusing on individual aspects of aging, from inflammation to telomere function to cancer onset. It is highly likely that multiple, seemingly unrelated issues feed into common readouts and effector pathways. How do these get defined? Are aging-driven changes in chromatin structure, nuclear territories and chromosomal interactions determinant factors that influence health span, life span and the synergy of diseases? As a group, Glenn researchers are focusing on understanding nuclear structure, epigenetics and the importance of nuclear territories on aging, life span, health span and stem cell biology.