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A mutation named Magellan steers nerve cells off course

La Jolla, CA – Newly launched nerve cells in a growing embryo must chart their course to distant destinations, and many of the means they use to navigate have yet to surface. In a study published in the current issue of the journal Neuron, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have recovered a key signal that guides motor neurons – the nascent cells that extend from the spinal cord and must find their way down the length of limbs such as arms, wings and legs.


Three Salk scientists named 2007 AAAS Fellows

LA JOLLA, CA—Professors Ursula Bellugi, Walter Eckhart and Greg E. Lemke have been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow, an honor that is bestowed upon members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science by their peers.


Salk Chemical Evolution Scientist Leslie Orgel Dies

La Jolla, CA – Salk scientist Leslie Orgel, Ph.D., who dedicated much of his career to the study of how life began on Earth roughly 4 billion years ago, died on October 27 from pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.


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La Jolla, CA – When the genetic material inside a cell's nucleus starts to fall apart, a protein called ATM takes charge and orchestrates the rescue mission. Surprisingly, for ATM to kick into full gear, the stretches of DNA flanking a chromosomal break are just as important as the damaged site itself, report scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.


Salk scientist receives 2007 Krieg Cortical Discoverer Prize

La Jolla, CA – The Cajal Club has selected Dennis O'Leary, professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, to receive the 2007 Krieg Cortical Discoverer Prize for his outstanding research on the mechanisms guiding the functional organization of the cerebral cortex, the brain's powerful central processing unit responsible for higher brain functions.


Neighborly care keeps stem cells young

La Jolla, CA – A stem cells' immediate neighborhood, a specialized environment also known as the stem cell niche, provides crucial support needed for stem cell maintenance. But nothing lasts forever, found scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. During the aging process, the level of support drops off, diminishing the stem cells' ability to replenish themselves (self-renew) indefinitely.


Innovative dual action anthrax vaccine-antitoxin combination

La Jolla, CA – A collaboration between scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and The Scripps Research Institute led to the development of a new and highly effective agent that provides protection against anthrax by combining a fast-acting anthrax toxin inhibitor with a vaccine in a single compound.


How basil gets its zing

La Jolla, CA – The blend of aromatic essential oils that gives fresh basil leaves their characteristic warm and sweet aroma is well characterized but not much is known about the enzymatic machinery manufacturing the odiferous mix. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of Michigan followed their noses and solved part of the molecular puzzle.


Residential preference for nicotinic receptors in neurons

La Jolla, CA – It is all about being at the right place at the right time. We have all learned the lesson that location matters and the same holds true for neurons, maybe even more so.


Salk scientists solve mystery behind how nuclear membrane forms during mitosis

La Jolla, CA – Just how a dividing cell rebuilds the nuclear envelope, the protective, functional wrapping that encases both the original and newly copied genetic material, has been a source of controversy for the last 20 years. The answer matters because the architecture established during formation of the envelope is regarded as key to future regulation of gene expression.


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