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Simple method turns human skin cells into immune-fighting white blood cells

LA JOLLA—For the first time, scientists have turned human skin cells into transplantable white blood cells, soldiers of the immune system that fight infections and invaders. The work, done at the Salk Institute, could let researchers create therapies that introduce into the body new white blood cells capable of attacking diseased or cancerous cells or augmenting immune responses against other disorders.

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Dynamic duo takes out the cellular trash

LA JOLLA—In most of the tissues of the body, specialized immune cells are entrusted with the task of engulfing the billions of dead cells that are generated every day. When these garbage disposals don’t do their job, dead cells and their waste products rapidly pile up, destroying healthy tissue and leading to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Salk neuroscientist Charles Stevens receives NSF grant under BRAIN Initiative

LA JOLLA–Charles Stevens, a professor in the Salk Institute’s Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, will receive one of 36 Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) from the National Science Foundation to further research on how complex behaviors emerge from the activity of the brain.

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Salk Institute continues campaign success, raising $68 million in 2014 fiscal year

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute for Biological Studies celebrates another successful year of fundraising with nearly $68 million raised in fiscal year 2014 to support The Campaign for Salk, the Institute’s first-ever capital fundraising campaign.

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Genetic signal prevents immune cells from turning against the body

LA JOLLA–When faced with pathogens, the immune system summons a swarm of cells made up of soldiers and peacekeepers. The peacekeeping cells tell the soldier cells to halt fighting when invaders are cleared. Without this cease-fire signal, the soldiers, known as killer T cells, continue their frenzied attack and turn on the body, causing inflammation and autoimmune disorders such as allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.

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Single gene controls jet lag

LA JOLLA–Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a gene that regulates sleep and wake rhythms.

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Stephen F. Heinemann, pioneering Salk neuroscientist, dies at 75

Stephen F. Heinemann, whose pioneering research on neurotransmitter receptors in the brain helped lay the groundwork for understanding diseases of the brain, died August 6 of complications of kidney failure at Vibra Hospital in San Diego, California. He was 75.

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"Glee" star Matthew Morrison headlines Symphony at Salk, August 23

LA JOLLA–Tickets are on sale now for the Salk Institute’s 19th Annual Symphony at Salk, one of the summer’s premiere events, taking place on Saturday, August 23. The annual musical affair features the highly regarded San Diego Symphony along with Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe-nominated star Matthew Morrison.

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Salk researcher Tony Hunter to receive 2014 Royal Medal in biological sciences

LA JOLLA–Salk Institute professor Tony Hunter has been awarded the 2014 Royal Medal for biological sciences by the Royal Society, a fellowship of some of the world’s most eminent scientists based in the United Kingdom.

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Salk scientists uncover new clues to repairing an injured spinal cord

LA JOLLA—Frogs, dogs, whales, snails can all do it, but humans and primates can't. Regrow nerves after an injury, that is—while many animals have this ability, humans don't. But new research from the Salk Institute suggests that a small molecule may be able to convince damaged nerves to grow and effectively rewire circuits. Such a feat could eventually lead to therapies for the thousands of Americans with severe spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

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