Inside Salk - June 2008 - page 3

THOMAS ALBRIGHT, PROFESSOR AND
director of the Vision Center Laboratory, has
been elected a member of the National
Academy of Sciences. Election to the
Academy recognizes distinguished and
continuing achievements in original research
and is considered one of the highest honors
accorded U.S. scientists.
Throughout his career, Albright has
sought new avenues to identify how sensory
signals in the brain become “integrated” to
formneuronal representations of the
objects that populate our visual
environment and form our conscious
experiences of the world. Albright provided
the first systematic evidence that humans’
perception of motion does not depend on
the physical characteristics such as
brightness, color or texture of the object
that is moving, a feature known as “form
cue invariance.” He found that single
neurons in a brain area specialized for
processing motion exhibited robust form-
cue invariance, a discovery that came as a
surprise at the time.
because motor neuron function is disrupted.
Degenerative diseases such as ALS (Lou
Gehrig’s disease), spinal muscle atrophy and
post-polio syndrome result from the loss of
motor neurons.
Dillin, an associate professor in the
Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, studies
the tiny roundworm Ceanorhabditis elegans to
understand the process of aging by looking at
the hormone most widely recognized for its
role in diabetes: insulin. The insulin-signaling
pathway in worms is not only almost identical
to that found in humans, but he discovered
how the insulin pathway controls aging without
disrupting other physiological processes, such
as reproduction and development.
Dillin recently identified a gene that
specifically links calorie restriction with
prolonged life span. A natural extension of his
work on aging is to understand the link between
the aging process and age-related diseases,
such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer.
NEWS BRI EFS
3
Inside Salk June 2008
THE FIFTH ANNUAL PEARL MEISTER GREENGARD PRIZE,
an international award to recognize outstanding women scientists,
has been awarded to Salk professor
Vicki Lundblad
for her
groundbreaking work in telomere biology. She will share the prize
with Salk Nonresident Fellow
Elizabeth H. Blackburn,
Ph.D., a
professor at the University of California in San Francisco, and
Carol W. Greider, Ph.D., a professor at Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine.
Established by Nobel Laureate Paul Greengard, a professor at
Rockefeller University, and his wife, sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard,
the prize honors women scientists whose achievements in
biomedical researchmerit international recognition.
Vicki Lundblad Receives 2008 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize
SALK ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
Clodagh O’Shea
has been named a
recipient of the 2008 Beckman Young
Investigator award for her work in
cancer research. One of her lab’s
interests lies in developing the next
generation of viral vectors and
replicating lytic cancer therapies.
O’Shea is also the recipient of the
2007 Young Investigator’s Award in
Gene Therapy for Cancer. That award
was established in 1986 by the
Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy and
supports innovative efforts aimed at
furthering the development of gene
therapy approaches for the treatment
of cancer.
Clodagh O’Shea Receives
2008 Beckman Young
Investigator Award
Two Salk Researchers Named HHMI Investigators
RESEARCHERS SAMUEL L. PFAFF
and
Andrew Dillin
have been selected as
newHoward Hughes Medical Institute
(HHMI) investigators, the prestigious
organization formally announcedMay 27.
Pfaff, a professor in the Gene Expression
Laboratory, is interested in discovering how
nerve cells form and correctly wire up,
focusing on the fetal development of the
spinal cord. Of special interest to him is
howmotor neurons develop andmake
connections between the spinal cord and
muscles in the body, since these
connections are necessary for all body
movements.
Spinal cord injuries lead to paralysis
Thomas Albright
Clodagh O’Shea
Samuel L. Pfaff
AndrewDillin
Vicki Lundblad
Thomas Albright Elected to National Academy of Sciences
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