Inside Salk - October 2009 - page 4

Inside SalkOctober 2009
Thomas Albright
NIHDesignates Salk One of Seven National Basic
Research Centers Focused on Vision
A $3.8milliongrant from theNational Eye
Institute (NEI) of theNational Institutes of Health
places the Salk Institute among one of seven
NEI-designated centers focused exclusively on the
basic research of vision, and is the first basic science
facility created by theNEI in nearly a decade.
The only one of its kind in the SanDiego region,
the newSalk Institute Center for theNeurobiology
of Vision is a consortium of 15 investigators led by
Thomas Albright
conducting research on the visual
system. The five-year grant funds core facilities that
support each of the scientists' research projects.
Lt. Gov. JohnGaramendi hasNAMED
Salk President
WilliamR. Brody
to serve on
the California Institute for RegenerativeMedi-
cine’s oversight board. Brody replaces Salk
Executive Vice President
Marsha A. Chandler
who served for the last two years.
“Dr. Brody is an accomplished scientist,
widely recognized among his peers as one
of the nation's forefront thinkers in biomedi-
cal engineering and healthcare policy,” said
Garamendi, whomake five appointments to
the committee.
Brody, renowned for his achievements in
biomedical engineering, spent 12 years as
president of Johns Hopkins University before
joining Salk.
CIRMwas created as part of Proposition
71, the California StemCell Research and
Cures Initiative, whichwas approved by voters
in 2004. Since then, the 29-member oversight
committee has approved 295 grants worth
$761million, making CIRM the largest source
of stem cell research funding in the world.
dived into the social media sphere to increase
the number of people it reaches on theWeb
– leading to a 20 percent increase in traffic
originating from referring sites such as
Facebook and Twitter.
Since launching the social media pages
in the spring, the Salk Institute has gained a
combined fan base of more than 645 people
Traffic to Institute’sWebsite Increases Via Twitter and Facebook Pages
President Bill Brody Appointed
to CIRM Board
The new vision center will take a broad approach to
understanding the development and plasticity of the
visual system, themechanisms of the neural process-
ing of visual stimuli, and the link between visual
perception and behavior.
Understanding themechanisms that process visual
inputs in the retina and the brain and how that affects
behavior provides amodel system for better under-
standing the central nervous system. Such basic
studies can also one day contribute to the development
of prosthetics that restores vision to the blind.
Seven Salk postdocshavereceived
total of $840,000 in research grants
through the Institute’s Glenn Center to
pursue a research topic central to aging
that involves at least two laboratories. They
will each receive $60,000 for two years to
cover their salaries, benefits and equipment.
The Glenn Center for Aging Researchwas
established in January with a $5million
gift from the Glenn Foundation for Medical
Research. Led by
Andy Dillin
, the Glenn
Center draws from nine of Salk’s leading
laboratories specializing in genetic analysis,
stem cell biology andmetabolism research
to address the overarching goal of defining a
healthy lifespan, or healthspan, and answer
one of themost elusive questions in biology:
Is there a defined biological process of aging
that is universal to all organisms?
The newGlenn Center Fellows are:
Toby Franks
Star Lee
Yair Pilpel
Lei Wang
Katja Lamia
Postdocs Honoredwith
Glenn Center Fellowships
In related news, researcher
Liming Pei
who works in
Ron Evans
’ lab, received a
fellowship from the Francis Family Founda-
tion. As a 2009Parker B. Francis Fellow,
Liming will receive $156,000 over three years
in support of his research, which focuses on
embryonic development of the lung.
Originally fromChina, Pei graduated from
UCLAwith a Ph.D. inMolecular and Cellular
Pathology in 2006 and joined the Evans lab
that same year.
and organizations (and growing) that have
voluntarily signed up to follow news updates
and “tweets.”
“By adopting social media as another
component of our overall communications pro-
gram, we have been able to reach a whole new
audience from around the world and provide
them regular news feeds from the Salk,” says
Communications Director MauricioMinotta.
“This introduces the Institute to potential new
supporters and organizations that may be
interested in licensing the Salk’s technology.”
On average, the Institute’s website receives
about 200,000 unique page views per month.
Press releases on the Salk’s scientific discover-
ies and alerts on its symposiums are among the
items communicated through the social media
platforms. To view the pages, visit
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