Inside Salk; Salk Insitute

Faculty Promotions

Andrew Dillin Promoted to Associate Professor
Andrew Dillin, associate professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, studies the tiny roundworm Ceanorhabditis elegans to understand the process of aging by looking at the hormone most widely recognized for its role in diabetes: insulin. The insulin signaling pathway in worms is not only almost identical to that found in humans, but Dillin discovered how the insulin pathway controls aging without disrupting other physiological processes, such as reproduction and development.

In his most recent study, Dillin unraveled a mystery that had dodged scientist for the last 72 years. He identified a gene that specifically links calorie restriction with prolonged life span. A natural extension of his work on aging is to understand the link between the again process and age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cancer. Recently, his lab discovered that the harmful beta amyloid aggregates found in Alzheimer's patients accumulate when aging impedes two molecular clean-up crews from getting rid of these toxic species.

Martyn Goulding Promoted to Full Professor
Martyn Goulding, professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, studies how the nervous system develops and functions. Efforts in his laboratory have focused on defining the genetic program that generates different interneuron cell types in the embryonic spinal cord. In addition to playing critical roles in relaying sensory information from the surface of our body to the brain, these neurons are also important for locomotion.

Knowing more about how these cells form and are "wired up" will further our understanding of how to regenerate and reconnect the nerve cells in the spinal cord that allow us to move. Dr. Goulding has discovered and characterized a number of genes that control the development of the spinal cord, including Pax3. He also demonstrated that mutations in Pax3 cause a human disorder called Waardenburg Syndrome.

Jan Karlseder Promoted to Associate Professor
Jan Karlseder, associate professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, focuses on understanding the functions of mammalian telomeres. Telomeres, the protein-DNA complexes at the ends of linear chromosomes, are crucial in DNA replication, tumor suppression, and aging.

Current research centers on different aspects of telomere dynamics, namely the involvement of telomeres in premature aging diseases, interactions between the DNA damage machinery and telomeres, and telomere processing during the cell cycle.

John Reynolds Promoted to Associate Editor
John Reynolds, associate professor in the Systems Neurobiology Laboratory, focuses on understanding the neural mechanisms of vision and visual attention. This understanding is essential in order to develop treatments for disorders in which attention and vision are impaired, such as visual agnosia, Balint's Syndrome, visual neglect, and attentional aspects of autism.

One of the main goals of research in the Reynolds laboratory is to understand the different roles played by distinct classes of visual cortical neurons in transforming attentional feedback signals into improved visual processing. Reynolds and his colleagues are pursuing this goal using a combination of visual psychophysics, neurophysiology, and computational neural modeling.