October 22, 2009
LA JOLLA, CA—Dr. Fred H. Gage, a professor in the Laboratory for Genetics at the Salk Institute and the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases, is one of only three Americans elected an Associate Member to the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2009.
“The election once again puts a spotlight on the most outstanding representatives of the current generation of life scientists. We look forward to the fresh impulses this exceptional group will bring to our organization,” said EMBO Director Hermann Bujard.
Gage’s laboratory concentrates on the adult central nervous system and unexpected plasticity and adaptability to environmental stimulation that remains throughout the life of all mammals. He and his colleagues showed that, contrary to accepted dogma, human beings are capable of growing new nerve cells throughout life.
Small populations of immature nerve cells are found in the adult mammalian brain, which are generated in a process called neurogenesis. Gage is working to understand how these cells can be induced to become mature functioning nerve cells in the adult brain and spinal cord.
Dr. Gage’s lab also showed that environmental enrichment and physical exercise can enhance the growth of new brain cells and his team is studying the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms that may be harnessed to repair the aged and damaged brain and spinal cord.
About EMBO members
EMBO members provide their scientific expertise to the various programs coordinated by EMBO. They provide scientific input to the organization, participate in committees, may nominate new members, mentor young scientists and initiate new activities.
Members are elected annually on the basis of their proven excellence in research and represent a high-profile cross section of researchers from all fields of molecular life sciences ranging from developmental biology, genomics, molecular medicine, neuroscience and plant biology to systems biology.
More than 1,400 of Europe’s foremost researchers have been recognized by EMBO for key work as the very best in their field, and 50 members have received the Nobel Prize, many others are recipients of prestigious international awards. Membership is a life-long honor with new members nominated and elected annually by existing members.
About the Salk Institute for Biological Studies:
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the world’s preeminent basic research institutions, where internationally renowned faculty probe fundamental life science questions in a unique, collaborative, and creative environment. Focused on both discovery and mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines.
Faculty achievements have been recognized with numerous honors, including Nobel Prizes and memberships in the National Academy of Sciences. Founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, M.D., the Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark.