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Stem cells move one step closer to cure for genetic diseases

LA JOLLA–Healthy brain, muscle, eye and heart cells would improve the lives of tens of thousands of people around the world with debilitating mitochondrial diseases. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute have gotten one step closer to making such cures a reality: they’ve turned cells from patients into healthy, mutation-free stem cells that can then become any cell type. The new approach is described July 15, 2015 in Nature.


Rusty Gage receives Allen Distinguished Investigator Award to reveal biology of Alzheimer’s disease

LA JOLLA–The Salk Institute today announced that Rusty Gage, Salk professor in the Laboratory of Genetics, has been selected as one of five recipients of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation’s Allen Distinguished Investigator (ADI) program and will be awarded $1.5 million to conduct his research. These researchers have projects aimed at uncovering the elusive biological foundations of Alzheimer’s disease. The projects are funded at a total of $7 million over three years.


Salk plant biologist Julie Law named Rita Allen Foundation Scholar

LA JOLLA—Salk Institute plant biologist Julie Law has been named a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar, a distinction given to biomedical scientists whose research holds exceptional promise for advancing the frontiers of knowledge about how biological systems function in health and disease.


New technique maps elusive chemical markers on proteins

LA JOLLA–Unveiling how the 20,000 or so proteins in the human body work–and malfunction–is the key to understanding much of health and disease. Now, Salk researchers developed a new technique that allows scientists to better understand an elusive step critical in protein formation.


A high-fat diet may alleviate mitochondrial disease

LA JOLLA–Mice that have a genetic version of mitochondrial disease can easily be mistaken for much older animals by the time they are nine months old: they have thinning grey hair, osteoporosis, poor hearing, infertility, heart problems and have lost weight. Despite having this disease at birth, these mice have a “secret weapon” in their youth that staves off signs of aging for a time.


New drug squashes cancer's last-ditch efforts to survive

LA JOLLA–As a tumor grows, its cancerous cells ramp up an energy-harvesting process to support its hasty development. This process, called autophagy, is normally used by a cell to recycle damaged organelles and proteins, but is also co-opted by cancer cells to meet their increased energy and metabolic demands.


Targeting telomeres, the timekeepers of cells, could improve chemotherapy

LA JOLLA–Telomeres, specialized ends of our chromosomes that dictate how long cells can continue to duplicate themselves, have long been studied for their links to the aging process and cancer. Now, a discovery at the Salk Institute shows that telomeres may be more central than previously thought to a self-destruct program in cells that prevents tumors, a function that could potentially be exploited to improve cancer therapies.


Protein plays unexpected role in embryonic stem cells

LA JOLLA–What if you found out that pieces of your front door were occasionally flying off the door frame to carry out chores around the house? That’s the kind of surprise scientists at the Salk Institute experienced with their recent discovery that nucleoporins–proteins that act as cellular “doorways” to help manage what goes in and out of a cell’s nucleus–are actually much bigger players in expressing genes than previously thought.


Salk Institute scientist Nicola Allen named Pew Scholar

LA JOLLA–The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today that Salk Institute scientist Nicola Allen, an assistant professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, is one of 22 researchers to be named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. Allen joins the ranks of more than 600 outstanding scientists who have been selected as Pew scholars in the 30 years since the program’s inception.


Salk Institute board of trustees elects neuroscientist Thomas M. Jessell and business leader Daniel Tierney

LA JOLLA, CA–The Salk Institute is pleased to announce the election of neuroscientist Thomas M. Jessell and business leader Daniel Tierney to its Board of Trustees. The Board voted on the appointments in April.


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