Salk Institute
Helmsley Center for Genomic Medicine
Rusty  Gage

Rusty Gage

Laboratory of Genetics
Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Disease

Fred H. "Rusty" Gage, a professor in the Laboratory of Genetics, concentrates on the adult central nervous system and unexpected plasticity and adaptability to environmental stimulation that remains throughout the life of all mammals. Gage's lab showed that, contrary to accepted dogma, human beings are capable of growing new nerve cells throughout life. Small populations of immature nerve cells are found in the adult Human brain, a process called Neurogenesis. Gage is working to understand how these cells can be induced to become mature functioning nerve cells in the adult brain and spinal cord. They showed that environmental enrichment and physical exercise can enhance the growth of new brain cells and they are studying the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurogenesis.

In addition, the Gage lab focuses on modeling diseases in vitro using human stem cells. Through reprogramming of human somatic cells from patients with neurologic and psychiatric disease, his work seeks to understand the progression and mechanisms that lead to neuronal and glial dysfunction. Finally his lab studies the genomic mosaicism that exists in the brain as a result of mobile elements that are active during neurogenesis. Specifically, Dr. Gage is interested in differences between individuals and how somatic-induced genomic mosaicism may lead to functional diversity.


  • BS, University of Florida
  • MS & PhD, The Johns Hopkins University

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Fellow of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Member, American Philosophical Society
  • Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • IPSEN Prize in Neuronal Plasticity, 1990
  • Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievements in Health and Education, 1993
  • Christopher Reeve Research Medal, 1997
  • Max Planck Research Prize, 1999
  • President, Society for Neuroscience, 2001
  • MetLife Award for Medical Research, 2002
  • Keio Medical Science Prize Award, shared with Shimon Sakaguchi, 2008
  • President of the International Society for Stem Cell Research 2011-12

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