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Salk scientist has been elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization

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 food-energy cellular connection revealed: Metabolic master switch sets the biological clock in body tissues

LA JOLLA, CA—Our body's activity levels fall and rise to the beat of our internal drums-the 24-hour cycles that govern fundamental physiological functions, from sleeping and feeding patterns to the energy available to our cells. Whereas the master clock in the brain is set by light, the pacemakers in peripheral organs are set by food availability. The underlying molecular mechanism was unknown.


What drives our genes? Salk researchers map the first complete human epigenome

LA JOLLA, CA—Although the human genome sequence faithfully lists (almost) every single DNA base of the roughly 3 billion bases that make up a human genome, it doesn't tell biologists much about how its function is regulated. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute provide the first detailed map of the human epigenome, the layer of genetic control beyond the regulation inherent in the sequence of the genes themselves.


Genetics of Patterning the Cerebral Cortex: How stem cells yield functional regions in "gray matter"

LA JOLLA, CA—The cerebral cortex, the largest and most complex component of the brain, is unique to mammals and alone has evolved human specializations. Although at first all stem cells in charge of building the cerebral cortex—the outermost layer of neurons commonly referred to as gray matter—are created equal, soon they irrevocably commit to forming specific cortical regions. But how the stem cells' destiny is determined has remained an open question.


Salk Scientist Wins 2009 Aging Research Award from the Ellison Medical Foundation

La Jolla, CA—Dr. Martin Hetzer, Hearst Endowment associate professor in the Salk Institute's Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, has received a 2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging from the Ellison Medical Foundation. He will receive $150,000 a year for four years to study the mechanisms at work in nuclear pore complexes, channels that mediate molecular traffic between the nucleus and cytoplasm of cells.


Salk Non-Resident Fellow Honored with Nobel Prize for the Discovery of Telomerase

LA JOLLA, CA—Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., a professor at the University of California in San Francisco and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies since 2001, will receive this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology for "the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase," the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden announced today.


Umbilical cord blood as a readily available source for off-the-shelf, patient-specific stem cells

LA JOLLA, CA—Umbilical cord blood cells can successfully be reprogrammed to function like embryonic stem cells, setting the basis for the creation of a comprehensive bank of tissue-matched, cord blood-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells for off-the-shelf applications, report researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, Spain.


Rising above the din:
Attention makes sensory signals stand out amidst the background noise in the brain

LA JOLLA, CA—The brain never sits idle. Whether we are awake or asleep, watch TV or close our eyes, waves of spontaneous nerve signals wash through our brains. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies studying visual attention have discovered a novel mechanism that explains how incoming sensory signals make themselves heard amidst the constant background rumblings so they can be reliably processed and passed on.


Shedding Light on the Latest Ravages of Polio in America: Salk Institute Launches Website for Polio Survivors

LA JOLLA, CA—The Salk Institute for Biological Studies today officially launched — a resource for polio survivors intended to raise awareness of the crippling post-polio syndrome (PPS), a serious neuromuscular condition that can strike an estimated 40-50 percent of people decades after they were first infected with the poliovirus.


The "S" stands for surprise: Anticoagulant plays unexpected role in maintaining circulatory integrity

LA JOLLA, CA—Protein S, a well-known anticoagulant protein, keeps the blood flowing in more than one way, discovered researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The protein contributes to the formation and function of healthy blood vessels.


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