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Feature

Inside Salk 12 | 15

www.salk.edu

Inder Verma

, a Salk professor and faculty

advisor for the Stem Cell and Next Generation

Sequencing cores, argues that research in

modern biological sciences requires expertise

in a range of pioneering technologies, including

imaging, genomic sequencing, proteomics and

much more.

“No single scientist can have these specialized

technologies in their laboratory,” says Verma.

“The most efficient and productive way to do

cutting-edge science is to have the resources to

not only run, but continuously upgrade, shared

facilities. We are very fortunate here at Salk to

have state-of-the-art cores.”

While many academic institutions have shared

facilities, Salk’s cores have been particularly

effective at catalyzing discovery because of

both the size and structure of the Institute.

“At other institutes, this kind of equipment is

only accessible to a select group of influential

researchers. We’re at the optimal size to have

great resources and share them equally,” says

Berggren. Indeed, all 48 active labs are able to

use the cores for needs that include biophoton-

ic expertise, stem cell culturing and genomic

sequencing, to name a few.

But perhaps even more important than equal

access, Salk’s cores serve as connecting

ligaments between the diverse and varied

scientific labs. By working with many research-

ers, the core staff has the perspective to see

what works and what doesn’t. The cores also

advise labs on best practices; offer scientific

consultations; engage in teaching, training

and outreach to scientific and lay audienc-

es; and standardize procedures across the

Institute. This support bolsters the Institute’s

foundational and translational science and

helps make groundbreaking discoveries that

point to ways to tackle some of today’s most

devastating diseases.

Leah Boyer, director of Salk’s Stem Cell Core, uses a pipette to transfer medium into stem cell dishes.

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“To do big

science, you

need big

technology.”

– Travis Berggren