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Salk News


How plant architectures mimic subway networks

LA JOLLA—It might seem like a tomato plant and a subway system don’t have much in common, but both, it turns out, are networks that strive to make similar tradeoffs between cost and performance.


More evidence shows natural plant compound may reduce mental effects of aging

LA JOLLA—Salk scientists have found further evidence that a natural compound in strawberries reduces cognitive deficits and inflammation associated with aging in mice. The work, which appeared in the Journals of Gerontology Series A in June 2017, builds on the team’s previous research into the antioxidant fisetin, finding it could help treat age-related mental decline and conditions like Alzheimer’s or stroke.


How plants grow like human brains

LA JOLLA—Plants and brains are more alike than you might think: Salk scientists discovered that the mathematical rules governing how plants grow are similar to how brain cells sprout connections. The new work, published in Current Biology on July 6, 2017, and based on data from 3D laser scanning of plants, suggests there may be universal rules of logic governing branching growth across many biological systems.


Tilted microscopy technique better reveals protein structures

LA JOLLA—The conventional way of placing protein samples under an electron microscope during cryo-EM experiments may fall flat when it comes to getting the best picture of a protein’s structure. In some cases, tilting a sheet of frozen proteins—by anywhere from 10 to 50 degrees—as it lies under the microscope, gives higher quality data and could lead to a better understanding of a variety of diseases, according to new research led by Salk scientist Dmitry Lyumkis.


Getty Conservation Institute and Salk Institute announce completion of major conservation efforts

LA JOLLA-The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) and Salk Institute for Biological Studies announced today that after four years, conservation efforts are complete for one of the key architectural elements at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California—its teak window walls. The site, completed in 1965 and designed by famed architect Louis I. Kahn, is widely considered to be a masterpiece of modern architecture. It is also home to globally renowned scientists making breakthroughs in areas of cancer, neuroscience, metabolism, plant science, genetics, and more.


Salk Institute establishes architecture endowment

LA JOLLA—The Institute announces today the launch of the Architecture Conservation Program, designed to address ongoing preservation of the nearly 60-year-old Modernist structure considered to be a masterwork of American architect Louis Kahn.


New method to rapidly map the “social networks” of proteins

LA JOLLA—Salk scientists have developed a new high-throughput technique to determine which proteins in a cell interact with each other. Mapping this network of interactions, or “interactome,” has been slow going in the past because the number of interactions that could be tested at once was limited. The new approach, published June 26 in Nature Methods, lets researchers test millions of relationships between thousands of proteins in a single experiment.


Prominent scientists in immunobiology and aging research to join Salk Institute

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute is honored to welcome two new faculty with the rank of full professor, both of whom are highly respected and accomplished leaders in their fields. Susan Kaech and Gerald Shadel will inspire fresh collaborations and bring experienced perspectives to bear on Salk’s approaches to health and disease.


Grammy legend David Foster & Friends headline at 22nd Symphony at Salk

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute will celebrate 22 years of Symphony at Salk, its signature concert under the stars, with Grammy-winning songwriter, composer and producer David Foster and the incomparable San Diego Symphony on Saturday, August 26.


Salk Institute scientist Eiman Azim named Pew Scholar and Aging Brain Scholar

LA JOLLA—The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today that Eiman Azim, an assistant professor in Salk’s Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, is one of 22 researchers to be named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. Each scholar receives $240,000 over four years. Additionally, Azim is one of a subset of five Pew Scholars selected for support by the Kathryn W. Davis Peace by Pieces Fund, which focuses on investigating health challenges in the brain as it ages.


How the brain recognizes what the eye sees

LA JOLLA—If you think self-driving cars can’t get here soon enough, you’re not alone. But programming computers to recognize objects is very technically challenging, especially since scientists don’t fully understand how our own brains do it.


Salk’s Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center partners with imaging giant ZEISS

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute’s Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center and ZEISS announced today a global partnership to accelerate the frontiers of microscopy and imaging technologies.


How cells divide tasks and conquer work

LA JOLLA—Despite advances in neuroscience, the brain is still very much a black box—no one even knows how many different types of neurons exist. Now, a scientist from the Salk Institute has used a mathematical framework to better understand how different cell types divide work among themselves.


A star is born: lesser-known brain cell takes center stage

LA JOLLA—Neurons have long enjoyed the spotlight in neuroscience—and for good reason: they are incredibly important cellular actors. But, increasingly, star-shaped support cells called astrocytes are being seen as more than bit players in the brain’s rich pageant.


A better dye job for roots—in plants

LA JOLLA—(June 1, 2017) Once we start coloring our hair, we may be surprised to learn that we begin to have a problem in common with plant biologists: finding the right dye for our roots. In the case of the biologists, just the right chemical is needed to measure exactly how plant roots grow. Now, a researcher at the Salk Institute has discovered a fluorescent dye that, paired with other imaging techniques, reveals root growth to be influenced by a major plant hormone more than previously thought.


Brain’s immune cells linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia

LA JOLLA—Scientists have, for the first time, characterized the molecular markers that make the brain’s front lines of immune defense—cells called microglia—unique. In the process, they discovered further evidence that microglia may play roles in a variety of neurodegenerative and psychiatric illnesses, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases as well as schizophrenia, autism and depression.


Helping plants pump iron

LA JOLLA—Just like people, plants need iron to grow and stay healthy. But some plants are better at getting this essential nutrient from the soil than others. Now, a study led by a researcher at the Salk Institute has found that variants of a single gene can largely determine a plant’s ability to thrive in environments where iron is scarce.


Novel tool confers targeted, stable editing of epigenome in human stem cells

LA JOLLA—(May 4, 2017) Salk Institute scientists have developed a novel technology to correct disease-causing aberrations in the chemical tags on DNA that affect how genes are expressed. These types of chemical modifications, collectively referred to as epigenetics or the epigenome, are increasingly being considered as important as the genomic sequence itself in development and disease.


“Exercise-in-a-pill” boosts athletic endurance by 70 percent

LA JOLLA—Every week, there seems to be another story about the health benefits of running. That’s great—but what if you can’t run? For the elderly, obese or otherwise mobility-limited, the rewards of aerobic exercise have long been out of reach.


Salk promotes two dynamic scientists who study the microbiome and neurobiology

LA JOLLA—Two Salk Institute faculty members have been promoted based on their innovative and notable contributions to biological research.