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Personal Connection to Science Drives Director's Work

Daniel Andrade Knows the importance of science. His daughter was born with an immature brain stem and a deficient immune system, which has led to chronic problems with the toddler. Without a reliable treatment, he looks to basic research to help his little girl.

Andrade never thought, however, that he would have the opportunity to indirectly contribute to the science that could help Kayla. As the director of the Salk's International Office, Andrade is in charge of recruiting and retaining the world's best and brightest scientists, 65 percent of whom are foreign nationals representing 43 different countries.

"My passion for the science stems from my personal experiences with my daughter, so once our faculty identify researchers to recruit, the International Office works to get them here as quickly as possible," Andrade says. "Our number one priority is to make sure the Salk Institute remains a leader in scientific research."

The department also ensures Salk complies with immigration and government policies. Keeping up with the ever-changing immigration laws and regulations is a challenge, Andrade admits, but his background as an adjudications officer for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides him with a perspective that most people in his field don't have.

Since joining Salk, Andrade has also worked toward helping to shape the outlook of the U.S. Immigration Reform Bill through his contacts in the government and his affiliations with organizations such as the American Council on International Personnel, the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors, and the National Postdoctoral Association.

"Immigration reform only takes place every 15 years, so this is extremely important to Salk and the scientific community," Andrade says. "Changing the laws would make it easier for the world's best scientists to come to the United States to do their research and become permanent residents, which then makes them eligible to qualify for many government grants.

"The appeal to a researcher who is considering the Salk Institute is the quality of our faculty and the papers they publish," he continues. "At Salk, research is based on quality, not quantity, and that's an important draw for these researchers. Plus, you can't beat the location."