Inside Salk; Salk Insitute
Home > News & Press > InsideSalk > 12|14 Issue > First appointment in new Salk Fellows Program

First appointment in new Salk Fellows Program

The Salk Institute has launched a new initiative called the Salk Fellows Program, which brings scientists from broad disciplines to the Institute to trigger innovation and collaboration.

Dmitry Lyumkis

Dmitry Lyumkis

“Interdisciplinary interactions among the Fellows and faculty will continue to add to our environment of excellence and create future intellectual leaders in the biological sciences,” says Salk professor Inder Verma, who is, along with professors Fred Gage and Ronald Evans, currently leading this program.

Most fellows will come directly from a PhD or MD program and have expertise in a wide range of innovative technologies. Their work will have a combination of novelty, originality and risk, factors that often lower the chances of obtaining support through traditional channels. Salk Fellows will be independent group leaders and will be appointed for an initial period of three years, which may be followed by a two-year extension.

Salk’s first Fellow in this new program, Dmitry Lyumkis, supported by the Helmsley Charitable Trust through the Helmsley Center for Genomic Medicine at Salk, joined the Salk as a Helmsley-Salk Fellow on July 1 from The Scripps Research Institute.

Lyumkis has made groundbreaking innovations in biological imaging. He uses single-particle cryo-electron microscopy–a cutting-edge technology that enables the visualization of large proteins and protein complexes under near-native conditions– to build three-dimensional models of the imaged objects. The resulting 3D models, which can now be resolved at near-atomic resolution with select specimens, facilitate a better understanding of protein function and sometimes reveal long sought-after clues in structural biology. Last year, the technology unlocked a major clue to an elusive protein on the AIDS virus, helping to pave the way for a potential HIV vaccine.

“At the Salk, I plan to bring this technology to address interesting biological problems related to cancer and HIV,” says Lyumkis. “I am excited to push this technology further in order to address questions that have fundamental relevance in human disease.”