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Nomis Foundation Gifts Additional $6.5 Million to Salk Center, Establishes Endowed Chair

John Young

John A. T. Young

Two years since its initial $11.5 million contribution to launch the Nomis Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, the Switzerland-based Nomis Foundation has gifted an additional $6.5 million in support of continued research efforts in understanding infectious disease.

Two million of the $6.5 million gift will establish the Nomis Foundation Chair, a senior scientist endowed chair that will be awarded to the Center's director, John A. T. Young. The fund will be augmented with an additional $1 million in accordance with the Joan Klein Jacobs and Irwin Mark Jacobs Senior Scientist Endowed Chair Challenge. Launched in 2008, the Challenge is intended to create 10 new permanent chairs in support of senior faculty members.

An additional $2.5 million of the most recent Nomis gift will fund a comprehensive fellowship program to train and support 10 promising scientists to become leading researchers in the field. The remaining $2 million will establish an endowment to fund the purchase of cutting-edge technology and equipment to ensure the NCIMP remains at the forefront of research in Immunobiology.

"We are enormously grateful for the Nomis Foundation's continued commitment and generosity toward this very important area of biological research," said Salk Executive Vice President Marsha A. Chandler.

Salk President Willima R. Brody observed: "The work that will continue as a result of this latest contribution will help scientists decipher the underpinnings of immunological deficiencies and the inflammatory process associated with major acquired disease, while endowed chairs created through the Jacobs Chair Challenge ensures the Salk Institute retains some of the world's brightest senior scientists."

The overarching goal of the Nomis Center is to take a multipronged approach toward research on the pathophysiology of disease that develops from chronic infections. In addition to Young, who studies the cell biology of virus infection and anthrax intoxication, the Center includes assistant professors Nomis Foundation Gifts Additional $6.5 Million to Salk Center, Establishes Endowed Chair Björn Lillemeier and Ye Zheng. Both joined the Salk faculty in November 2009 and conduct complementary research on T-cells,which play an important role in regulating the body's immune system.

The Young lab has made significant discoveries over the last two years, particularly in understanding details associated with the early stages of AIDS infection. His team's findings regarding the virus-host interaction are pointing scientists toward possible new therapeutic strategies to combat infection.