NCI Cancer Center




NCI Cancer Center

The Cancer Center was established at the Salk Institute in 1970. It is a basic research National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center. The Director is Tony Hunter and the Deputy Director is Reuben Shaw. The Cancer Center comprises about half of the research at the Salk Institute. The center includes 30 faculty members, 199 postdoctoral researchers, 41 graduate students and 101 research assistants. A Cancer Center Support (Core) Grant from the National Cancer Institute helps support many shared resources at the Salk Institute, including shared equipment, bioinformatics, functional genomics/quantitative PCR, proteomics, cytometry, imaging, peptide synthesis, transgenic facilities, and viral vector production.

In March 2013 the Salk Institute Cancer Center joined the NCI-designated UCSD Moores Cancer Center and the NCI-designated Sanford Burnham Cancer Center to form the San Diego National Cancer Institute Cancer Centers Council (SD NCI C3). This novel collaboration will allow all three centers to leverage their distinct and combined resources and talents.

Scientific Shared Resources

NCI Cancer Center Council(C3) Shared Resources.

The original research programs in the Cancer Center emphasized tumor virology. As the center grew, the programs broadened to include various areas of molecular, cell, and developmental biology.

Over the past 30 years researchers in the Cancer Center have made important contributions to our understanding of cancer. Some of the most the influential discoveries include:

  • Discovery of tyrosine phosphorylation and elaboration of its role in cell growth control.
  • Identification of nuclear hormone receptors and elucidation of their role in physiology and development.
  • Characterization of transcription factors that control gene expression and cell growth, differentiation, and patterning.
  • Development of viral vectors for gene therapy.

In addition to excellence in research, the Cancer Center provides a supportive environment in which trainees and faculty members are encouraged to develop as independent investigators. Some of these scientists remain at the Salk Institute, while others move on to productive careers at other institutions.

Research in the Cancer Center is divided into three programs: Metabolism and Cancer, Mouse Models and Stem Cells, and Growth Control and Genomics Stability. Faculty members in each area are listed below.

Click here to view a list of research interests and disease models for individual investigators.

Metabolism and Cancer

Janelle Ayres Ronald Evans Tony Hunter
Marc Montminy Joseph Noel Satchidananda Panda
Alan Saghatelian Reuben Shaw Ye Zheng

Mouse Models and Stem Cells

Joseph Ecker Rusty Gage Juan-Carlos Izpisua Belmonte
Chris Kintner Julie Law Kuo-Fen Lee
Greg Lemke Axel Nimmerjahn Samuel Pfaff
John Thomas Inder Verma

Growth Control and Genomic Stability

Beverly Emerson Diana Hargreaves Martin Hetzer
Katherine Jones Jan Karlseder Björn Lillemeier
Vicki Lundblad Clodagh O’Shea Geoffrey Wahl


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