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Where cures begin.

Salk Institute

04

|

15

THE POWER

OF CONNECTIONS

New collaborators fromdivergent fields are tackling

someofbiology’sbiggestquestions

CONNECTIONS

NONPROFIT ORG.

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es, please email

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Inside Salk Fe

bruary 2011

www.salk.edu

5

Dear Friends,

THE MOST INNOVATIVE IDEAS OFTEN COME FROM SURPRISING

places—and that’s especially true in science. Biologists and computer

scientists, for instance, see the world in very different ways, but the

happy collision of those worldviews can lead to something entirely new.

The Salk Institute has always embraced and encouraged such cross-

pollination, and Salk scientists often mention this “culture of collision”—

to coin a phrase—as a big part of why they chose to come here.

The feature story in this issue of

Inside Salk

—“The Power of

Connections”—examines some significant advancements produced by

these interdisciplinary partnerships.

Alan Saghatelian

and

Reuben Shaw

,

for example, are uniting their respective expertise in biology and chemistry

to better understand cancer metabolism. In our “Next Generation”

article, you’ll learn how Salk researchers and spouses

Zuyu Zheng

and

Yongxia Guo

, though working in separate labs, collaborate to study plant

survival mechanisms, an issue vital to future crop production. And you’ll

see how rewarding partnerships often extend beyond the Salk campus. A

case in point is

Martyn Goulding

, who recently teamed up with researchers

at Harvard Medical School to identify a neural mechanism in the spinal

cord that appears to be implicated in sending erroneous pain signals to

the brain, a major discovery that could benefit patients who suffer from

such disorders as fibromyalgia and phantom limb pain.

A number of other notable discoveries are featured in the “Discovery

Roundup” section.

Beverly Emerson

has uncovered details about how

cancer uses a diversification strategy to develop drug resistance and

Geoffrey Wahl

has found a way to identify previously undetectable protein

interactions, which could provide new targets for cancer therapeutics.

Katherine Jones

, also investigating proteins, has identified a protein

integral to active HIV replication and one that enables the disease to strike

the immune system years after lying dormant. Two discoveries, from the

labs of

Ronald Evans

and

Satchidananda Panda

, drew worldwide attention.

Panda’s study found that confining caloric consumption to an 8- to 12-hour

period—as people did just a century ago—might stave off high cholesterol,

diabetes and obesity. Evans’ team developed a new compound, fexaramine,

that can trick the body into thinking it has consumed calories and burned

calories, thus raising hopes of a successful diet pill.

No scientific advancement occurs without tremendous teamwork and

one partnership I am cognizant of on a daily basis is the one we share

with you. Your interest in and support of fundamental biological research

buoys our determination and drives our discoveries. For that, we are

all thankful.

William R. Brody, MD, PhD

President, Salk Institute

Irwin M. Jacobs Presidential Chair

www.salk.edu

Inside Salk 4 | 15

Exec

utive Message

3

William Brody

ON THE COVER

The field of single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) enables researchers to reconstruct biological macromolecules in 3D,

revealing more about their form and function. This image shows a small portion of a 3D reconstruction of a large ribosomal subunit

of a multi-protein complex responsible for cellular protein synthesis.

The wire me h displays reconstructed density from cryoEM data. The data can be interpreted in terms of atomic coordinates,

which are displayed in ball-and-stick form. Regions displayed without an atomic model are areas that have not yet been modeled

and require further interpretation.

Courtesy of Dmitry Lyumkis