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Drug blocks light sensors in eye that may trigger migraine attacks

LA JOLLA, CA—For many migraine sufferers, bright lights are a surefire way to exacerbate their headaches. And for some night-shift workers, just a stroll through a brightly lit parking lot during the morning commute home can be enough to throw off their body's daily rhythms and make daytime sleep nearly impossible. But a new molecule that selectively blocks specialized light-sensitive receptors in the eyes could help both these groups of people, without affecting normal vision according to a study published August 25, 2013 in Nature Chemical Biology.

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Potent mechanism helps viruses shut down body's defense system against infection

LA JOLLA, CA—Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered a powerful mechanism by which viruses such as influenza, West Nile and Dengue evade the body's immune response and infect humans with these potentially deadly diseases. The findings may provide scientists with an attractive target for novel antiviral therapies.

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Salk scientists add new bond to protein engineering toolbox

LA JOLLA, CA—Proteins are the workhorses of cells, adopting conformations that allow them to set off chemical reactions, send signals and transport materials. But when a scientist is designing a new drug, trying to visualize the processes inside cells, or probe how molecules interact with each other, they can't always find a protein that will do the job they want. Instead, they often engineer their own novel proteins to use in experiments, either from scratch or by altering existing molecules.

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Salk scientist discovers novel mechanism in spinal cord injury

LA JOLLA, CA—More than 11,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries each year, and since over a quarter of those injuries are due to falls, the number is likely to rise as the population ages. The reason so many of those injuries are permanently disabling is that the human body lacks the capacity to regenerate nerve fibers. The best our bodies can do is route the surviving tissue around the injury site.

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Salk Institute raises a record $93 million in 2012 fiscal year

LA JOLLA,CA—The Salk Institute received a record-setting $93 million from individuals, foundations and corporate donors during fiscal year 2012 to support the Campaign for Salk, the Institute's first major fundraising campaign.

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Novel 'top-down' mechanism repatterns developing brain regions

LA JOLLA,CA—Dennis O'Leary of the Salk Institute was the first scientist to show that the basic functional architecture of the cortex, the largest part of the human brain, was genetically determined during development. But as it so often does in science, answering one question opened up many others. O'Leary wondered what if the layout of the cortex wasn't fixed? What would happen if it were changed?

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Salk scientists discover more versatile approach to creating stem cells

LA JOLLA, CA—Stem cells are key to the promise of regenerative medicine: the repair or replacement of injured tissues with custom grown substitutes. Essential to this process are induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can be created from a patient's own tissues, thus eliminating the risk of immune rejection. However, Shinya Yamanaka's formula for iPSCs, for which he was awarded last year's Nobel Prize, uses a strict recipe that allows for limited variations in human cells, restricting their full potential for clinical application.

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Critical pathway in cell cycle may lead to cancer development

LA JOLLA,CA—A team of scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has identified why disruption of a vital pathway in cell cycle control leads to the proliferation of cancer cells. Their findings on telomeres, the stretches of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that protect our genetic code and make it possible for cells to divide, suggest a potential target for preventive measures against cancer, aging and other diseases. The findings were published July 11, 2013 in Molecular Cell.

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Tickets for Symphony at Salk, featuring singing superstar Katharine McPhee, on sale now

LA JOLLA,CA—Tickets are now available online for the 18th annual "Symphony at Salk-a concert under the stars" featuring multi-talented singer Katharine McPhee who will perform at the Institute on August 24 with the San Diego Symphony and acclaimed guest conductor Maestro Thomas Wilkins.

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Salk researchers identify potential biomarker for cancer diagnosis

LA JOLLA,CA—Scientists studying cancer development have known about micronuclei for some time. These erratic, small extra nuclei, which contain fragments, or whole chromosomes that were not incorporated into daughter cells after cell division, are associated with specific forms of cancer and are predictive of poorer prognosis.

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