Inside Salk; Salk Insitute

Global Health Symposium

From left: Inder Verma, Gary Nabel, Vincent Racaniello, Alfred Sommer

The Salk Institute celebrated its founding father’s 100th birthday in inimitable Salk style on November 13 with a global health symposium during the day and a private concert with violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman at night.

As the host of “Global Health Symposium: Viruses, Vaccines and Pandemics,” Inder Verma, professor of genetics and one of the world’s leading authorities on gene therapy, welcomed prominent immunologists and virologists from the United States and Europe.

Nathan Wolfe

In all, there were five guest speakers during the day-long symposium, with topics ranging from poliovirus and Ebola to viral diversity and vaccines. Kicking off the day with a talk on polio was Higgins Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Columbia University Vincent Racaniello, PhD. Gary Nabel, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer at Sanofi, followed with a presentation titled, “Addressing Viral Diversity: The Challenges of an AIDS Vaccine.”

Rino Rappuoli, PhD, global head of vaccines research at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics in Siena, Italy, presented his talk, “Vaccines: Science, Health, Longevity and Wealth.” Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, dean emeritus at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and distinguished service professor at Johns Hopkins University presented, “Global Health: A Personal, Peripatetic Perspective.” Finishing off the day was Paul A. Offit, MD, professor of pediatrics in the division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Offit gave a talk on the Cutter Incident.

Paul Offit

In the evening, nearly 300 invited guests were treated to a talk on pandemic prevention by Nathan Wolfe, founder and CEO of Metabiota, followed by Perlman’s recital in remembrance of Jonas Salk. Following the concert, Irwin Jacobs, Salk’s board chairman, presented Perlman with the Salk Institute Medal for Public Service, noting all Perlman has done to help eradicate polio around the globe. Perlman is only the fifth person to receive the Salk award that is given to individuals who have contributed to science, medicine, public health or public service.

The scientific Global Health Symposium was underwritten by the ResMed Foundation, the Farrell Family Foundation and Dr. and Mrs. Herbert W. Boyer.