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Salk News


3-D structure of Alzheimer’s disease filament shows how it zips up peptides

La Jolla, CA – Researchers have solved the three dimensional structure of the long thread-like fibers that fill the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients. The structure reveals the proteins that make up the fibrils lock onto each other much like a zipper on a jacket. This advance, reported in the Nov. 14th early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), helps illuminate the molecular roots of Alzheimer’s and possibly other degenerative diseases of the brain.


Unexpected function for a key regulator of blood glucose levels

La Jolla, CA – An unexpected twist to a discovery reported just two months ago may significantly improve our understanding about the molecular origins of diabetes.


Inaugural Salk Medals will honor leaders for improving health care of Haitian poor and cancer therapy worldwide

La Jolla, CA – As part of its anniversary celebrations, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies will honor on Nov. 12, two individuals whose life work has taken very different approaches to helping humanity.


Salk Institute plant biologist named AAAS Fellow

La Jolla, CA – Salk Institute molecular biologist Joanne Chory, Ph.D., an expert on how plants regulate their growth, has been elected a Fellow of the world’s largest general scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


Salk scientist awarded Glenn T. Seaborg Medal

La Jolla, CA – Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., who during his 27 years of research at the Salk Institute has made major discoveries about how hormones and drugs control the body’s metabolism, development and reproduction, has been honored with the prestigious Glenn T. Seaborg Medal, named for the Nobel laureate chemist who was an advisor to 10 U.S. Presidents.


Wnt signaling controls the fate of stem cells in adult brains

La Jolla, CA – Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a crucial cellular signal that controls the fate of stem cells in the brains of adult mice.


A genome wide search for genes underlying anxiety disorders turned up unexpected candidates

La Jolla, CA – Increasing the activity of two enzymes better known for their role in oxidative stress metabolism turns normally relaxed mice into ‘Nervous Nellies,’ according to research conducted at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and reported in the early online edition of Nature.


Your brain cells may ‘know’ more than you let on by your behavior

La Jolla, CA – We often make unwise choices although we should know better. Thunderstorm clouds ominously darken the horizon. We nonetheless go out without an umbrella because we are distracted and forget. But do we? Neurobiologists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies carried out experiments that prove for the first time that the brain remembers, even if we don’t and the umbrella stays behind. They report their findings in the Oct. 20th issue of Neuron.


Brain’s response to visual stimuli shaped by interaction of inhibitory and excitatory neurons, helping us to focus on what we should see, rather than all there is to see

La Jolla, CA – Delving ever deeper into the intricate architecture of the brain, researchers at The Salk Institute have now described how two different types of nerve cells, called neurons, work together in tiny sub-networks to pass on just the right amount and the right kind of sensory information.


Scientific institute founded by vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk to host meeting for polio survivors on Oct. 27

La Jolla, CA – Polio survivors – who were afflicted with poliomyelitis in the years or months before the vaccine to prevent this often-crippling disease became available in 1955 – are invited to attend a special symposium, at 3 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.


Silencing Alzheimer’s: targeting a key enzyme with gene therapy reversed course of disease in mouse models

La Jolla, CA – In mice, that had been genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s disease, scientists were able to reverse the rodents’ memory loss by reducing the amount of an enzyme that is crucial for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.


Exercise may reverse mental decline brought on by aging

La Jolla, CA – Perhaps you can teach an old mouse new tricks, after all. But be sure to pick an active one.


Key regulator of blood glucose levels discovered

La Jolla, CA – In many patients with type 2 diabetes, the liver acts like a sugar factory on overtime, churning out glucose throughout the day, even when blood sugar levels are high. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies discovered a key cellular switch that controls glucose production in liver cells.


Unexpected features of anthrax toxin may lead to new types of therapies

La Jolla, CA – Surprising new insights about the acid pH levels required for anthrax toxin to invade the cells of the body may help accelerate development of medications for the treatment of anthrax, a disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium.


‘Fail safe’ mechanism that helps keep inflammation in check

La Jolla, CA – Shutting down a master activator of the body’s inflammatory response – which is the goal of several experimental drugs now in development for the treatment of arthritis – may create even more inflammation with its associated pain and swelling in the body.


Tiny roundworm’s telomeres help scientists to tease apart different types of aging

La Jolla, CA – The continual and inevitable shortening of telomeres, the protective “caps” at the end of all 46 human chromosomes, has been linked to aging and physical decline. Once they are gone, so are we. But there are more ways than one to grow old.


Salk scientists overturn a dogma of nerve cell communication

La Jolla, CA – Every neurobiology textbook invariably states that nerve cells communicate with each other through synapses, the specialized cell-cell contacts found at the end of the cells’ threadlike extensions. In this week’s journal Science, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences and the University of California at San Diego report that nerve cells, or neurons, may not have to rely on traditionally defined synapses to “talk” to each other.


Spain to send postdoctoral researchers to Salk Institute for training in science of stem cell biology

La Jolla, CA – Over the next five years, the Salk Institute will be a training ground for a total of 30 selected post-doctoral researchers from Spain, in the science of stem cell biology.


For the first time, miniature electrode array records from hundreds of nerve cells simultaneously

La Jolla, CA – For many years, scientists tried to glean information about the nervous system by recording the electrical activity of one brain cell at a time. Because even the simplest functions of the nervous system involve many thousands of neurons, recording the activity of individual or only a handful of nerve cells does not provide a full picture.


France’s highest scientific honor to be awarded this year to Salk Institute scientist Ronald M. Evans

La Jolla, CA – Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., professor and head of the Gene Expression Laboratory of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, will receive the 2005 Grande Médaille D’Or (Grand Gold Medal), France’s highest scientific honor, for his research discovering how hormones and drugs control the body’s metabolism, development and reproduction.