Inside Salk - June 2008 - page 13

Trustee Donates $11.5Million to the Salk Institute
Inside Salk June 2008
established by Salk Board of Trustee G.H. “Heini” Thyssen, has
donated $11.5million to fund appointments for new investigators
specialized inmicrobial pathogenesis and viral and cellular
immunology. The gift, which will launch the Immunobiology and
Microbial Pathogenesis program, fulfills a critical component of the
Institute’s strategic scientific plan.
“The opportunity created by this most generous gift to recruit new
scientists who will combine their expertise with that of existing faculty
will create a critical mass of investigators that will allow the Salk
Institute to contribute in entirely new ways to combating human
disease,” said Salk Interim President Roger Guillemin. “Additionally,
the in-depth study of inflammation has many crossover links to other
areas of research, creating opportunities for synergistic benefits.”
Under the Immunobiology andMicrobial Pathogenesis program,
scientists at Salk will take a multi-pronged approach to conducting
research on the pathophysiology of disease that arise from chronic
infections, and will seek to understand the role of the immune
system in preventing microbially induced disease.
The new principal investigators will also work closely with a
number of current Salk Institute scientists who are studying the
molecular basis of cancer, obesity, and heart disease as well as
those studying innate immunity, the first line of defense; and
adaptive immunity, the sustained immunity to fight pathogens.
Waitt Family Foundation Awards $20Million
Grant to Launch Advanced Biophotonics Center
a $20million grant from Board of Trustee Vice
Chairman TedWaitt to establish an Advanced
Biophotonics Center at the Institute. The gift,
provided through the Waitt Family Foundation,
will pay for build-out of the Center, provide
salary support for new faculty and senior
technician specialists, and the development
and acquisition of some of today’s most
sophisticated imaging equipment.
“This generous grant by the Waitt Family
Foundation provides a major step to create a
facility that will help researchers push the
boundaries of science even further at Salk,”
said Inder Verma, a professor in the Laboratory
of Genetics.
“The scientific expertise we will gather and
the highly advanced instrumentation we will
develop will enable our scientists to visually
decipher the basic principles behind some of
today’s most complicated diseases.”
The Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center
will house a convergence of technical
advances in several areas: faster cameras,
highly powerful microscopes, new light
emitting dyes and enough computing power to
handle live images occupying up to a terabyte
of storage space, all of which allow scientists
to detect single photons and record the
interaction of molecules to study and
understand their function in healthy and
diseased cells.
The ability to clearly see cells’ minute inner
workings will give Salk scientists an even
deeper understanding of basic principles of
biology andmany diseases. This new
knowledge, for example, could help explain
why some cancer cells are resistant to therapy
while others respond. It will also transform the
way researchers analyze complex systems such
as the brain, and revolutionize the way
diseases are treated.
In conjunction with the $20million grant,
the Salk Institute has agreed to establish the
Waitt Challenge Grant, which is designed to
inspire philanthropic contributions and
challenge the Institute to raise up to $20
million that can be applied toward additional
funding for the Advanced Biophotonics Center
or any other restricted or unrestricted purpose
at the Salk.
“The creation of the Advanced Biophotonics
Center has the potential to take Salk’s
already phenomenal science to a new level,
and the Challenge Grant has the potential to
further cement Salk’s solid foundation,” said
TedWaitt, co-founder of Gateway, Inc., who
has gone on to formmultiple enterprises since
his retirement from the company.
“We are most grateful for the Waitt Family
Foundation’s contribution toward this critical
component of Salk’s forward-thinking
initiatives,” said Salk Executive Vice President
Marsha Chandler. “This grant serves as an
extraordinary catalyst for Salk’s plan to build a
comprehensive biophotonics program that
leads technological advances in critical
research areas.”
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