April 27, 2010
LA JOLLA—Salk scientist Fred H. Gage, a professor in the Laboratory for Genetics and the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society (APS). Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin and modeled after the Royal Society of London, the APS was the first organization in America to promote scientific endeavors and knowledge.
Gage, one of the most highly cited neuroscientist worldwide, joins a distinguished group of former members who include Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, past and present Salk faculty members Renato Dulbecco, Sydney Brenner, Francis H. C. Crick, Ronald M. Evans, Inder Verma, Tony Hunter and former Salk president Augustus B. Kinzel.
Gage’s laboratory concentrates on the adult central nervous system and unexpected plasticity and adaptability to environmental stimulation that remains throughout the life of all mammals. He and his colleagues showed that, contrary to accepted dogma, human beings are capable of growing new nerve cells throughout life.
Small populations of immature nerve cells are found in the adult mammalian brain, which are generated in a process called neurogenesis. Gage is working to understand how these cells can be induced to become mature functioning nerve cells in the adult brain and spinal cord.
Gage’s lab also showed that environmental enrichment and physical exercise can enhance the growth of new brain cells and his team is studying the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms that may be harnessed to repair the aged and damaged brain and spinal cord.
The American Philosophical Society has more than 1000 members worldwide, 80 percent of whom are from the United States and 250 have received the Nobel Prize. Election to the APS recognizes outstanding academic accomplishments.
About the Salk Institute for Biological Studies
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the world’s preeminent basic research institutions, where internationally renowned faculty probe fundamental life science questions in a unique, collaborative, and creative environment. Focused both on discovery and on mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and infectious diseases by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines.
Faculty achievements have been recognized with numerous honors, including Nobel Prizes and memberships in the National Academy of Sciences. Founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, M.D., the Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark.