Salk Institute
Women and Science
Linda and James Balducci
Ursula Bellugi - In Honor of Suzanne Bourgeois and Carol Marchetto
Betty Brock - In Memory of Joseph Brock
Joanne Chory - In Memory of Alvine Chor
Rich Collins - In Honor of 9/15/2015s
Jules De La Cruz
Julia Falk - In Honor of Ursula Bellugi
Carol and John Gallagher
Tyrone Gorden - In Honor of Rochelle Woods-Gorden
Larry and Carol Greenfield - Restricted to Nicola Allen
Reena Horowitz
Claire Grezemkovsky - In Honor of Cecelia Tichi
Emily Jennewein - In Honor of Claudia Ehrlich
Rachelle Le Vey - In Memory of Glenda Lamb
Mr. and Mrs. Charles McClure - In Honor of Kelsey Allen and Luke Bonney
Joani Nelson - In Honor of Catherine Rivier
Rebecca Newman - In Honor of Faye Hunter’s Birthday
Sam Pfaff - In Honor of the Women in the Pfaff Gene Expression Laboratory
Betsy Reis - In Memory of Doris Ann Laux
Karen Riley - In Memory of Nagesh Mhatre
Anna-Marie Rooney - In Memory of Anna-Liisa Hintgen
Gail and Cris Sloan - In Memory of Nicolas Sloan
Diane Wilson - In Memory of Virginia Coster
Paul and Joyce Dostart
Jerilyn Jones
Sabrina Martucci Johnson
April L'Heureux – In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Cliff and Bettie L'Heureuxt
Shazia and Haris Jamil – In Honor of Shakila Mujahid
Kathleen Ogilvie and Frank Myers
Vipula Shukla
Katharine Simmons – In Honor of Fred and Olga Simmons
Bill and Wendy Brody

About Women & Science

The vision of Salk Women & Science is to create an ongoing program that will engage women in the community with leaders in biological science and technology. The program is designed to provide a dynamic and vibrant forum in which community and business leaders and Salk’s women of science have an opportunity to gather as friends, entrepreneurs and researchers to discuss the latest discoveries in science and technology while inspiring more women to embrace scientific research as a focus of personal and philanthropic interest.

Salk Women & Science Innovation Grant and Special Awards Initiative
This year, we are proud to announce the launch of the Salk Women and Science Innovation Grant and Special Awards Initiative. These grant awards to female scientists will provide critical seed funding for high-risk research projects in stages too early to attract traditional funding. The reality is that too many novel ideas do not receive funding because of the level of risk. Innovation grants and special awards, ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 will allow for the development of promising ideas so that they can eventually attract larger grants. Breakthroughs by Salk scientists are driving discovery. We hope that you will partner with Salk Women & Science by making a gift to the Innovation Grant and Special Awards fundraising Initiative. Click here to donate»


Nicola J. Allen
Assistant Professor
Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory

Janelle S. Ayres
Assistant Professor
Nomis Foundation Laboratories for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Ursula Bellugi
Professor and Director
Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience

Suzanne Bourgeois
Professor Emerita
Regulatory Biology Laboratory

Joanne Chory
Professor and Director
Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Howard H. and Maryam R. Newman Chair in Plant Biology

Beverly M. Emerson
Regulatory Biology Laboratory

Katherine A. Jones
Regulatory Biology Laboratory

Julie A. Law
Assistant Professor
Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory

Vicki Lundblad
Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory

Clodagh O'Shea
Associate Professor
Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory

Catherine Rivier
Professor Emerita
Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology

Tatyana Sharpee
Associate Professor
Computational Neurobiology Laboratory
Helen McLoraine Developmental Chair in Neurobiology

Elizabeth (Betsy) ReisFor more information, please contact:
Elizabeth (Betsy) Reis
Director of Donor Relations
Phone: 858 453-4100 ext. 1426

Salk Women & Science

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Faculty Videos

Salk Women & Science presentation on Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hosted by Professor Ursula Bellugi and featuring a scientific presentation by:
Carol Marchetto, Ph.D.

Using human pluripotent stem cells to model autism spectrum disorders - Carol Marchetto

Carol Marchetto is a Senior Staff Scientist in the Laboratory of Dr. Fred Gage at The Salk Institute. Carol is involved in understanding the mechanisms by which human pluripotent stem cells become a fully developed functional neuron. Moreover, Carol is currently studying the behavior of different subtypes of human neurons in neurodegenerative/neurodevelopmental diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are complex neurodevelopmental diseases, highly heritable and mainly characterized by deficits in social interaction, impaired communication and stereotyped behaviors. Currently, there are no early biological markers of ASD, nor known effective treatments that lead to optimal long-term clinical outcome. Using Rett syndrome (RTT) as an ASD genetic model, Carol and colleagues demonstrated that studying developing neurons from ASD patients provided further understanding of early aspects of the disease that could be used as biomarkers for early diagnosis and also as targets for potential therapies.

Cold viruses point the way to new cancer therapies - Clodagh O'Shea

Adenovirus, a type of cold virus, has developed molecular tools—proteins—that allow it to hijack a cell's molecular machinery, including large cellular machines involved in growth, replication and cancer suppression. The Salk scientists identified the construction of these molecular weapons and found that they bind together into long chains (polymers) to form a three-dimensional web inside cells that traps and overpowers cellular sentries involved in growth and cancer suppression. The findings, published October 11 in Cell, suggest a new avenue for developing cancer therapies by mimicking the strategies employed by the viruses. Read more>>

Image Gallery

Scientist Profiles

Nicola Allen

Nicola Allen is a neuroscientist, but she doesn’t focus on the superstar of the brain, the neuron. Rather, she studies astrocytes, star-shaped cells once thought to be “filler,” but recently shown to be crucial to brain function–the producer, director, stage designer and supporting cast to the neurons.

These mysterious brain cells have only recently edged into the field of neurobiology as a viable research area and they have significant potential for helping to understand neurodevelopmental and degenerative diseases like autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. These prolific cells are, Allen says, a major player in the brain, despite their longtime obscurity. read more »

Amy Firth

Amy Firth doesn't believe in leaving well enough alone. She has an affinity for demanding sports–she’s competed in two Ironman triathlons and a 50-kilometer trail run, and she trained for the six-day TransRockies Run that took place earlier this month, a 120-mile trail race through the mountains of Colorado. And that’s not to mention the high-level horse competitions that were her passion when she was younger. read more »

Dino Morvinski

Dinorah "Dino" Friedmann-Morvinski is a telenovelawatching, cake-baking mother of three who also happens to be working on a cure for brain cancer. Morvinski, a postdoctoral researcher at the Salk Institute, shrugs off her stereotype-busting life. "I'm just normal," she says. Despite her disclaimer, quite a few people find her ability to juggle competing demands on her time extraordinary. "I'm amazed that anyone with three young children can be so focused and energetic," says her mentor, Salk professor Inder Verma. read more »

Charisse Crenshaw

Charisse Crenshaw studied gymnastics as a child before switching to ballet and jazz, ran track in high school, and as a graduate student led her Harvard laboratory volleyball team to such heights that they moved up an entire competitive bracket. But that's just for starters. She also practices yoga, is a classical soprano, a fashion model and active in her church. All that on top of being a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Salk plant biochemist Joseph P. Noel. read more »

Carol Marchetto

At first blush, Carol Marchetto's passions—yoga, dance and cell culture—seem an odd mix. But the more time one spends with her, the more it makes sense. All three activities require focus, energy and grace, traits that she exudes.

A highly experienced and successful laboratory scientist, Marchetto finds herself in a period of transition in her career, still committed to hands-on laboratory work but also exploring new and unfamiliar directions in her research and learning to communicate her work to the world outside her lab. read more »

Eirini Kaiserli

Eirini Kaiserli Captivated by biology in high school, Kaiserli was determined to pursue a career in research. Although Kos is renowned as the birthplace of Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician credited as the first person to believe that diseases had natural causes rather than stemming from acts of the gods or other superstitions, it boasts a population of only 30,000, and opportunities for a research career were limited, to say the least. But her intrepid spirit prevailed, and she left home to attend the University of Glasgow. read more »

Joanne Chory

Professor Joanne Chory A self-described "late bloomer," Joanne Chory has become one of the world's leading plant biologists, driven by the prospect of creating a better world for her family and children around the globe. Chory, professor and director of the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, has led the field of plant biology for more than 20 years, making major discoveries in how plants grow and develop. This past summer, she added more hardware to her collection of awards after being elected a foreign member of the Royal Society in London—the world's oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. read more »

Clodagh O'Shea

For years scientists have been working to re-engineer the human adenovirus, which in its normal state causes acute respiratory distress syndrome, as a potential tool to wipe out cancerous tumors. Clodagh O'Shea, assistant professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, is at the forefront of this bold technology. Her lab has developed a new generation of the engineered adenovirus to more effectively seek out and burst cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells intact. But her lab's story doesn't end there. She and her team are also working in parallel on novel, multi-pronged strategies ranging from arming her tumor-seeking viruses with toxic proteins, to re-engineering their outer "coat" so they can home in on tissue-specific targets. read more »

Tatyana Sharpee

Assistant professor Tatyana Sharpee is among the newest faculty members at the Institute. Since joining Salk in 2007, she has been recognized with several prestigious research awards, including the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the McKnight Scholar Award and named a Searle Scholar – honors that are reserved for scientists who have demonstrated innovative research early in their careers with the potential for making significant contributions to biological research. An authority on information theory, Sharpee's team uses a statistical method she developed to decipher how the brain codes and processes information from natural visual stimuli. read more »

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