Growing up in Chile, Research Professor Margarita Behrens was torn between becoming an architect and a scientist. She ultimately decided to pursue biochemistry. Now at Salk, Behrens studies how neurons develop in the brain. Her findings have implications for neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.
Julie Auger’s mother was at a conference in the mid-1980s when she met Jonas Salk. She got his autograph and mailed it to Auger with a note saying, “Don’t ever stop trying to achieve your dreams.” Auger took her mom’s advice, and today she is the executive director of Research Operations at the Salk Institute.
Despite being a world-renowned, award-winning scientific pioneer, Distinguished Professor Emerita Ursula Bellugi didn’t like to say she was smart. Instead, she credited her tremendous success to her insatiable curiosity and her willingness to ask the right questions. This past spring, the world lost a true trailblazer.
Senior Staff Scientist Courtney Glavis-Bloom’s work is driven by her experience caring for her grandparents, who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when she was in high school. She saw firsthand how dementia robs individuals of their connections to the world—now she studies the brain areas affected in aging in the hope of finding a cure.
Helen McRae was a graduate student when her cousin was diagnosed with lung cancer and received immunotherapy—an approach that empowers a patient’s own immune system to destroy tumors. McRae saw the promise of this newer treatment, but also how much more research is needed to help it work for more people.
This year, Staff Scientist Natalie Luhtala celebrates her 10-year work anniversary at the Institute. In her current role, she’s directing a project examining an elusive signaling pathway to identify new targets for treating pancreatic cancer.
Laura Newman, a Salk postdoctoral researcher, fell in love with science in a lab in college and switched from a medical program to pursuing biochemistry and developmental biology. At Salk, her main focus is on how cells can recognize when they’re sick or damaged in order to activate the immune system for cell survival.
Nuttida Rungratsameetaweemana, a Salk postdoctoral researcher who studies neuroscience, was introduced to the perplexities of the brain at age 14 during a chance encounter in a hospital waiting room.
From having a large garden to investigating compounds that plants make, Staff Scientist Pam Maher talks about how plants inspire her to find treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
Rajasree Kalagiri shares the serendipitous steps along her journey of scientific discovery from southern India to Southern California.
Corina Antal is not your typical researcher. From wrangling bull sharks to climbing mountains to seeking a cure for pancreatic cancer, Antal follows her passion.