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Salk News
New Target for Anti-Cholesterol Drugs, Antibiotics

La Jolla, CA – A natural chemical that has been ignored by researchers largely because of the runaway success of the blockbuster statin drugs may in fact yield a rare twofer: a prime target for novel cholesterol-lowering drugs and the blueprint for a new generation of antibiotics that can take down Streptococcus pneumonia and Staphylococcus aureus.


Salk Institute researcher named Pew Scholar

La Jolla, CA – Satchidananda Panda, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has been named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. He is one of only 15 researchers in the country to receive the honor this year. The distinction comes with a $240,000 award provided over four years to support his research on the molecular basis of circadian timekeeping mechanisms in mammals.


Finding a cellular Neverland: How stem cells stay childlike

La Jolla, CA – Despite their celebrated "immortality," the capacity of embryonic stem (ES) cells for endless division has its limits. After a very extended childhood spent dividing in a culture dish, even stem cells tend to grow up and assume adult roles as workaday nerve, muscle, or blood cells, never to return to their youthful state.


Chewing up a key regulator of fat synthesis keeps mice lean despite a high-fat diet

La Jolla, CA – Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a novel pathway that regulates the body's ability to store or burn fat, a discovery that suggests new ways to reduce obesity, diabetes and other fat-related human diseases.


New roles for growth factors: Enticing nerve cells to muscles

La Jolla, CA – During embryonic development, nerve cells hesitantly extend tentacle-like protrusions called axons that sniff their way through a labyrinth of attractive and repulsive chemical cues that guide them to their target.


Salk neurobiologist receives Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award

La Jolla, CA – Dr. Martyn Goulding, an associate professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has been awarded the prestigious Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences for his groundbreaking research on the neural circuitry that coordinates walking movements.


Salk and Stanford teams join forces to reveal two paths of neurodegeneration

La Jolla, CA – Wiring the developing brain is like creating a topiary garden. Shrubs don't automatically assume the shape of ornamental elephants, and neither do immature nerve cells immediately recognize the "right" target cell. Abundant foliage, either vegetal or neuronal, must first sprout and then be sculpted into an ordered structure.


Connections between neurons act as information filters in the brain

La Jolla, CA – For the first time, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have demonstrated that cell-cell contacts in the brain play an active role in processing information: called synapses, these interfaces act as precise filters that sense and amplify meaningful information, Salk researchers report in the current issue of PLoS Biology, available online.


Salk scientists get to the root of plant cell fate

La Jolla, CA – When Robert Burns compared his love to a red, red rose, he definitely wasn't referring to a topless mutant. That's because rather than being topped by a lovely, fragrant bloom, a rose mutant in the gene known as TOPLESS would be crowned by a homely second root.


Bone marrow cells hand natural killer cells their license to attack dangerous invaders

La Jolla, CA – A collaboration between scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Pasteur Institute in Paris has uncovered the molecular signals that trigger maturation of natural killer cells, an important group of immune system cells, into fully armed killing machines. Their findings will be published in a forthcoming issue of Nature Immunology.


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