SALK NEWS

Salk News


New mechanism discovered for Alzheimer’s risk gene

LA JOLLA—For decades, scientists have known that people with two copies of a gene called apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) are much more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease at age 65 than the rest of the population. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute have identified a new connection between ApoE4 and protein build-up associated with Alzheimer’s that provides a possible biochemical explanation for how extra ApoE4 causes the disease.


Disregarded plant molecule actually a treasure

LA JOLLA—The best natural chemists out there are not scientists—they’re plants. Plants have continued to evolve a rich palette of small natural chemicals and receptors since they began to inhabit land roughly 450 million years ago.


Neurodevelopmental model of Williams Syndrome offers insight into human social brain

LA JOLLA—In a study spanning molecular genetics, stem cells and the sciences of both brain and behavior, researchers at University of California, San Diego and the Salk Institute have created a neurodevelopmental model of a rare genetic disorder that may provide new insights into the underlying neurobiology of the human social brain.


When it comes to recognizing shapes, timing is everything

LA JOLLA—Visual prosthetics, or bionic eyes, are soon becoming a reality, as researchers make strides in strategies to reactivate parts of the brain that process visual information in people affected by blindness.


Salk Institute among top 25 North American scientific “stars” in Nature Index

LA JOLLA—Salk Institute ranks as one of the leading scientific “stars” in North America with high-quality output that has grown particularly fast, according to a new report by Nature Research.


Helmsley-Salk fellow garners prestigious microscopy award

Helmsley-Salk Fellow Dmitry Lyumkis has been awarded the 2016 George Palade Award by the Microscopy Society of America. The award is given for distinguished contributions to the field of microscopy and microanalysis in the life sciences of an early career scientist.


Gauging stem cells for regenerative medicine

LA JOLLA—Salk scientists and colleagues have proposed new molecular criteria for judging just how close any line of laboratory-generated stem cells comes to mimicking embryonic cells seen in the very earliest stages of human development, known as naïve stem cells. The tests found that no current protocols lead to truly naïve stem cells, but the guidelines may help researchers achieve that goal by pointing out where each current method falls short. Generating naïve stem cells would be a boon to both basic research and to medical applications of stem cells, such as growing tissue for organ replacement.


Power up: growing neurons undergo major metabolic shift

LA JOLLA—Our brains can survive only for a few minutes without oxygen. Salk Institute researchers have now identified the timing of a dramatic metabolic shift in developing neurons, which makes them become dependent on oxygen as a source of energy.


New neurons reveal clues about an individual’s autism

LA JOLLA—The brains of some people with autism spectrum disorder grow faster than usual early on in life, often before diagnosis. A new study co-led by Salk Institute scientists has employed a cutting-edge stem cell technique to unravel the mechanisms driving the mysterious phenomenon of excess brain growth, which affects as many as 30 percent of people with autism.


Small molecule keeps new adult neurons from straying, may be tied to schizophrenia

LA JOLLA—A small stretch of ribonucleic acid called microRNA could make the difference between a healthy adult brain and one that’s prone to disorders including schizophrenia.


Tony winner Kelli O’Hara to headline 21st annual Symphony at Salk

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute will celebrate 21 years of Symphony at Salk, its signature concert under the stars, with Broadway luminary Kelli O’Hara and the incomparable San Diego Symphony led by guest conductor Maestro Thomas Wilkins on Saturday, August 20.


Cannabinoids remove plaque-forming Alzheimer’s proteins from brain cells

LA JOLLA–Salk Institute scientists have found preliminary evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds found in marijuana can promote the cellular removal of amyloid beta, a toxic protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease.


Super-resolution microscopy reveals unprecedented detail of immune cells’ surface

LA JOLLA—When the body is fighting an invading pathogen, white blood cells—including T cells—must respond. Now, Salk Institute researchers have imaged how vital receptors on the surface of T cells bundle together when activated.


Salk recruits rising star to study neurology of mental disorders

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Sung Han as an assistant professor in the Clayton Foundation Peptide Biology Laboratories. Han will study small molecules, called neuropeptides, which affect the brain’s defense response and contribute to sensory hypersensitivity in neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety and autism.


Powering up the circadian rhythm

LA JOLLA—At noon every day, levels of genes and proteins throughout your body are drastically different than they are at midnight. Disruptions to this 24-hour cycle of physiological activity are why jet lag or a bad night’s sleep can alter your appetite and sleep patterns for days—and even contribute to conditions like heart disease, sleep disorders and cancers.


Salk researchers chart landscape of genetic and epigenetic regulation in plants

LA JOLLA—A new technique developed by Salk Institute scientists for rapidly mapping regions of DNA targeted by regulatory proteins could give scientists insight into what makes some plants drought tolerant or disease resistant, among other traits.


Genetic switch turned on during fasting helps stop inflammation

LA JOLLA—A molecular pathway that is activated in the brain during fasting helps halt the spread of intestinal bacteria into the bloodstream, according to a new study by a team of researchers at the Salk Institute.


Adult brain prunes branched connections of new neurons

LA JOLLA—When tweaking its architecture, the adult brain works like a sculptor—starting with more than it needs so it can carve away the excess to achieve the perfect design. That’s the conclusion of a new study that tracked developing cells in an adult mouse brain in real time.


Salk promotes four leading scientists in the fields of neuroscience, circadian rhythms and immunology

LA JOLLA–Four Salk Institute faculty members have been promoted after the latest round of faculty reviews determined they are scientific leaders who have made original, innovative and notable contributions to biological research.


Tiny microscopes reveal hidden role of nervous system cells

LA JOLLA—A microscope about the size of a penny is giving scientists a new window into the everyday activity of cells within the spinal cord. The innovative technology revealed that astrocytes—cells in the nervous system that do not conduct electrical signals and were traditionally viewed as merely supportive—unexpectedly react to intense sensation.



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