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Salk celebrates campaign milestone

campaign milestone

From left: Bruce Steel (representing BioMed Realty), Faye Wilson, Darlene Shiley, T. Denny Sanford, Joan Jacobs, Irwin Jacobs, Keith James (Ferring Pharmaceuticals)

As milestones go, the one that the Institute celebrated on June 7 was especially noteworthy: more than $200 million raised toward the Campaign for Salk's $300 million goal. Some 125 guests, including donors, trustees, faculty and friends, were on hand to mark the occasion, which also feted newly appointed chairholders and the donors who endowed the chairs, as well as others who have made exceptionally generous investments in Salk's future.

The evening was, as board chair Irwin Jacobs noted in his opening remarks, "an opportunity to honor the many amazing and loyal friends of the Institute for their generosity and participation in Salk's first-ever campaign."

Those honors began with recognition of trustee Ted Waitt's leadership and the Waitt Family Foundation's 2008 gift establishing the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center, which was the catalyst for the campaign. New signage for the center was revealed on the Southeast Building, reflecting the role of Waitt and the foundation.

Also unveiled was a wall honoring donors who have contributed $100,000 or more to the campaign and another acknowledging Jonas Salk Circle donors, who have given at least $1 million to unrestricted endowment for the Institute. The names of the three latest chairs established through the Jacobs Chair Challenge were also added to the existing wall recognizing the chairs. It was particularly poignant when Elizabeth Keadle, who endowed one of the chairs in memory of the late Wylie Vale, in whose lab she trained, took the podium with Vale's widow, Betty, following a video tribute to the longtime Salk faculty member, who died last year.

Just before a sumptuous dinner, Beverly Emerson, Christopher Kintner and Paul Sawchenko, appointees to the chairs, were presented, underscoring the extraordinary impact the campaign is already having on Salk science.

Beverly M. Emerson is the inaugural holder of the Edwin K. Hunter Chair, established by the Olive Tupper Foundation, the Chambers Medical Foundation, the Jenkins Family Charitable Institute, and the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation. Mr. Hunter is a dedicated supporter of Salk and has served as the Chair of Salk's Annual Tax Seminar since 2010.

Emerson, professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory, studies the behavior of genes, notably how they are switched on and off during normal development and during the development of cancer. She explores the molecular mechanisms underlying the cellular response to stress and seeks to find new ways to more easily turn on and off genes that maintain normal tissue function. This work is important for discovering new strategies for repairing or eliminating damaged cells that contribute to cancer and other diseases.

Christopher R. Kintner has been appointed the inaugural holder of the Rita and Richard Atkinson Chair established by the Atkinsons "to recognize outstanding individuals who are making funda - mental contributions to the advancement of science that will impact human health."

Professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Kintner studies the molecular events that occur in the formation of the nervous system during embryonic development. His research focuses on the development of cells with motile cilia, finger-like projections that beat and move fluid in organs such as the lungs. He studies the genes that are required to form motile cilia and enable cells to orient cilia to beat in the same direction. Analyzing these key genetic pathways of normal development and differentiation of stem cells will advance knowledge about ciliopathies and lung diseases that affect cilia function and will ultimately help prevent or treat human birth defects.

Paul E. Sawchenko was named the inaugural holder of the Wylie Vale Chair established by Liz Keadle, a loyal Salk donor who once worked in the laboratory of the late Salk professor. "Supporting the work of brilliant Salk researchers in Wylie's memory is an honor that allows me to contribute in some small way to the advancement of science," said Ms. Keadle.