This is a time of remarkable firsts at the Salk Institute.
In January, we publicly launched the first-ever Campaign for Salk, a major fundraising effort with a goal of raising $300 million to support Salk research. Soon afterward, we received an extraordinary gift of $42 million from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust for a Center for Genomic Medicine, the single largest gift in the Institute's history. And next month, on April 13, we celebrate Step into Discovery day, an event featuring a rare open house of Salk laboratories and the inaugural Walk for Salk, a 5K fundraising walk along the beautiful Torrey Pines mesa.
Each of these firsts, which you will read about in this issue of Inside Salk, help support the important work of Salk's scientists, who are in the business of breaking new scientific ground. Every day, they probe the frontiers of knowledge, and their work expands our understanding of how our bodies function and how, when we become sick, we might better heal them.
The Salk Institute was founded on a legacy of historic discovery. The Walk for Salk will take place a day after the 58th anniversary of Jonas Salk's announcement of the polio vaccine. April 23rd is the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA. Salk shares many connections to this scientific milestone, including several Nobel laureates, among them Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the double helix, who came to Salk to take up the challenges of neuroscience. These anniversaries underscore the fact that many years of research go into making life-changing discoveries.
At Salk today, our scientists continue to follow Dr. Salk's example, working long hours in the laboratory to lay the groundwork for the medicine of the future. Using powerful new technologies and collaborating in innovative ways, they are seeking cures and preventive treatments for cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, aging and associated conditions. With your help, these historic firsts for Salk will translate into scientific firsts that benefit human health.
Thank you for your continued support and commitment.
William R. Brody, M.D., Ph.D.
President, Salk Institute
Irwin M. Jacobs Presidential Chair