Inside Salk; Salk Institute

Executive Message

William Brody

William R. Brody

In this issue of Inside Salk, we celebrate the life and legacy of a visionary scientist, Renato Dulbecco, who died February 19. He was a pioneer, a Nobel laureate, a leader, a colleague and a friend. He was all of these things to the Salk community, and his passing at age 97, like his remarkable life, has had a profound impact on everyone at the Institute. A founding fellow, former president and groundbreaking researcher, Renato embodied everything that makes the Salk such an extraordinary place, and all of us will miss him deeply. As you'll read in our cover story, he was a supremely insightful and talented man who changed the direction of cancer research forever and whose legacy will continue to influence future generations of investigators.

Some of those researchers, not surprisingly, are making significant inroads against cancer right here at the Salk Institute. The following pages highlight a few recent examples—important discoveries by Geoff Wahl, Jan Karlseder and Inder Verma concerning breast cancer, cell division and lung cancer. We have also enjoyed several very productive months in neuroscience, metabolism, plant biology and aging research, with major papers published by Sam Pfaff, Ron Evans, Marc Montminy, Joanne Chory, Joe Noel and Martin Hetzer, to name just a few.

Our March of Dimes High School Science Day in March had a great turnout, as you'll see in our "Next Generation" section. This annual event, part of our education outreach effort, brings students and teachers to the Institute from around San Diego County for hands-on science experiences in Salk labs, a talk and lunch. Based on the feedback we get, it has a lasting impact on the participants.

And speaking of lasting impact, I particularly want to mention a heartfelt tribute the Institute paid to the late Wylie Vale, a longtime Salk faculty member and the subject of our previous issue's cover story. On the afternoon of March 22, we convened the Wylie Vale Memorial Symposium. Afterward, friends and colleagues shared their warm memories of Wylie. It was, in my opinion, the Salk Institute at its best.

I'm delighted to report that we've set a record for private giving during the past eight months, capped by a $10 million gift from Switzerland-based Ferring Pharmaceuticals. With the sharp decline in federal funding for basic research and more cuts threatened, philanthropic gifts are essential if we are to sustain our outstanding momentum—an impetus that will continue to benefit humankind as our scientists' work produces innovations and discoveries that lead to new therapies and diagnostics.

Lastly, I hope you've marked August 25 on your calendars for the premier event of the summer: Symphony at Salk. Each year, members of the community flock to the Institute1s courtyard for this sold-out evening of gourmet dining, camaraderie and splendid music (courtesy of the San Diego Symphony and a celebrated guest artist—this year, LeAnn Rimes), all in support of Salk's research and education outreach programs. It's always a memorable experience and one that audience members cherish for a long time afterward. If you've never attended Symphony at Salk, I urge you to join us and enjoy what all the excitement is about. I hope to see many of you there for this outstanding San Diego summer tradition.

Thank you for your continued support. You are so very important to the work being done at Salk.