Professor Emeritus

Walter Eckhart

Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory



Walter Eckhart was the longtime director of the Salk Cancer Center and a leader in understanding cell growth and the biology of cancer.


Eckhart served as director of the Salk Institute Cancer Center and head of the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory for more than 30 years. He studied regulation of cell growth, including the effects of cancer-causing genes (oncogenes), growth factors, and communication between adjacent cells (gap junctional intercellular communication). The viral genes he studied stimulate cellular growth signaling pathways, allowing the cells to divide continuously. Identification of growth signaling pathways has led to the development of drugs that inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Since his retirement, Eckhart has been a generous supporter of Salk research, including naming the Institute in his estate plans.


BS, Biophysics, Yale University
Postgraduate research, University of Cambridge, England
PhD, Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley
Postdoctoral Fellow, The Salk Institute

Awards & Honors

  • 2007 AAAS Fellow
  • Dernham Fellow, American Cancer Society
  • Merit Award, National Cancer Institute

Connect With Us