Education Outreach


Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Education Outreach - Programs



Education Outreach brings the world of discovery directly to the classroom.

The Salk Mobile Science Lab travels to middle schools throughout San Diego County, bringing a free, three-day program designed to deliver a science experience students can’t get from a textbook. Students study fruit flies under a microscope, isolate plant DNA and learn about techniques of DNA analysis, all hands-on activities proven to increase their interest in the biological sciences.

Since it first hit the road in 1996, the Salk Mobile Science Lab—a whimsically painted van depicting a fruit fly surfing a wave of a double helix, the molecular structure of DNA—visits dozens of schools and community events every year. In the past 10 years alone, it has reached more than 20,000 students.

Learn more about the Salk Mobile Science Lab, and book a visit to your classroom



Every summer, the Salk Institute accepts a small group of high school students to work in a lab side-by-side with Salk scientists on cutting-edge research. During the paid internship, students formulate and test hypotheses, prepare experiments and draw conclusions, maintain laboratory notebooks and attend lab meetings. At the end of the eight-week program, students present their research projects to their mentors, lab peers and families.

Founded more than 40 years ago, the Heithoff-Brody High School Summer Scholars program at the Salk Institute fulfills Jonas Salk’s vision of introducing high school students to laboratory life and the possibility of a career in science.

The Heithoff-Brody Scholars Program at the Salk Institute is open to students 16 years and older who reside and attend school in San Diego County. This program is in collaboration with the Biocom Institute Partners for Internships (BIPI) program.

For information about alternative programming for summer 2021



Once a year, the Salk Institute opens its doors to hundreds of students and their teachers for an extraordinary day designed to ignite interest in life sciences and introduce them to scientific research career pathways. The day includes Salk scientists sharing stories of their work life, lab tours and the opportunity to participate in current experiments.

This program is generously supported by the Anne and Neal Blue High School Science Fund.

The 2021 March of Dimes High School Science Day will be February 27, 2021.

Registration information for the 2021 program will be available early January 2021.

Press coverage – Newspaper and web – San Diego Union-Tribune

For more information please contact the Education Outreach Department at


SciChats is a video-conferenced-based science outreach program that pairs students in a classroom (or an alternative learning setting) with a volunteer scientist for an interactive conversation about what it’s like to be a scientist. SciChats gives students a clearer picture of how science progresses, encourages them to imagine a future for themselves as scientists, and illustrates the contributions that science makes to our society.

SciChats’ mission is to function as an interactive learning experience for students and a communication exercise for scientists. Rather than strictly teaching content, SciChats embraces students’ curiosity by letting their questions dictate the discussion, and emphasizes both the process of science and the people behind it.

Educators click here to request a SciChat.

Ellen Potter Research Connections for Teachers Symposium

Each Fall, teachers are invited to Salk to hear from faculty and researchers in a seminar environment, then collaborate with colleagues to apply what they have learned to Next Generation Science Standards-aligned lesson plans. Teachers earn a certificate of professional development.

2019 Symposium: Saturday Oct 5, 2019

For more information on any of the Education Outreach Programs, email