September 28, 2011

Salk scientist receives distinguished NIH award for transformative research

Salk News

Salk scientist receives distinguished NIH award for transformative research

LA JOLLA, CA—Dr. Fred Gage, a professor in the Salk Institute Laboratory of Genetics and holder of the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases, has been named a 2011 recipient of the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Transformative Research Projects (T-R01) program.

Only 17 T-R01 projects were selected throughout the country and will be supported with a total of $15.9 million in funding. Gage, who will receive $700,000 over the next 5 years, was the sole researcher in San Diego awarded a grant by the innovative program.

Gage has challenged the dogma that most healthy cells in an individual possess identical genomes by showing that the activity of mobile elements of genetic material can create a unique mosaic of different genomes in any individual’s brain. Researchers in his lab will pair with Dr. Roger Lasken of the J. Craig Venter Institute to develop innovative single cell approaches to understand how unique genomic mosaics make identical twins different from one another and contribute to spontaneous neurological diseases.

“This important award from the NIH recognizes Dr. Gage’s pioneering research that continues to push the boundaries of science,” said Salk Institute President William R. Brody. “The grant will provide funding to further these studies that are critically important for the advancement of basic research that could aid in the development of new therapies to improve the lives of people with a range of neurological disorders.”

Launched in 2008, the T-R01 program is supported by the NIH Common Fund (formerly the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research) and part of a series of initiatives designed to address fundamental knowledge gaps in science. According to the NIH, it is intended “to encourage exploration of exceptionally innovative and original research ideas that have the potential for extraordinary impact.”

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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 both on discovery and on mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and infectious diseases 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.

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