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Multi-tasking molecule holds key to allergic reactions

La Jolla, CA – As the summer approaches most of us rejoice, reach for the sunscreen and head outdoors. But an ever-growing number of people reach for tissue instead as pollen leaves eyes watering, noses running and spirits dwindling. Hay fever is just one of a host of hypersensitivity allergic diseases that cause suffering worldwide and others, such as severe reactions to bee stings or eating peanuts, can be more serious and even fatal.

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Distinguishing between two birds of a feather

La Jolla, CA – The bird enthusiast who chronicled the adventures of a flock of red-headed conures in his book "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" knows most of the parrots by name, yet most of us would be hard pressed to tell one bird from another. While it has been known for a long time that we can become acutely attuned to our day-to-day environment, the underlying neural mechanism has been less clear.

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Exercise in a pill

LA JOLLA, CA—Trying to reap the health benefits of exercise? Forget treadmills and spin classes, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may have found a way around the sweat and pain. They identified two signaling pathways that are activated in response to exercise and converge to dramatically increase endurance.

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Stem cell chicken and egg debate moves to unlikely arena: the testes

La Jolla, CA – Logic says it has to be the niche. As air and water preceded life, so the niche, that hospitable environment that shelters adult stem cells in many tissues and provides factors necessary to keep them young and vital, must have emerged before its stem cell dependents.

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Can you hear me now?

La Jolla, CA – When it comes to cellular communication networks, a primitive single-celled microbe that answers to the name of Monosiga brevicollis has a leg up on animals composed of billions of cells. It commands a signaling network more elaborate and diverse than found in any multicellular organism higher up on the evolutionary tree, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered.

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Salk researchers reprogram adult stem cells in their natural environment

La Jolla, CA – In recent years, stem cell researchers have become very adept at manipulating the fate of adult stem cells cultured in the lab. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies achieved the same feat with adult neural stem cells still in place in the brain. They successfully coaxed mouse brain stem cells bound to join the neuronal network to differentiate into support cells instead.

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Salk Institute partners with the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research to study extreme obesity-related genetic disorder

La Jolla, CA – The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research (FPWR) today announced a partnership that will forge new research to study a rare genetic disorder that thwarts appetite regulation and leads to extreme obesity.

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Perfect vision but blind to light

La Jolla, CA – Mammals have two types of light-sensitive detectors in the retina. Known as rod and cone cells, they are both necessary to picture their environment. However, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found that eliminating a third sensor – cells expressing a photopigment called melanopsin that measures the intensity of incoming light – makes the circadian clock blind to light, yet leaves normal vision intact.

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Salk scientists selected as Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators

La Jolla, CA – Salk scientists Samuel L. Pfaff and Andrew Dillin have been selected as Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators, HHMI announced today. Both join a prestigious group of the nation's top biomedical researchers who share the coveted title given to science's most innovative minds.

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Salk Researcher Named 2008 Searle Scholar

La Jolla, CA – Tatyana Sharpee, an assistant professor in the Salk Institute's Laboratory for Computational Biology, has been named a 2008 Searle Scholar. She will receive $300,000 over the next three years in support of her research entitled "Computational Principles of Natural Sensory Processing."

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