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New Salk-Helmsley Fellow brings cutting-edge gene editing technologies to the Salk Institute

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of bioengineer Patrick Hsu in the innovative Salk Fellows Program. Hsu, who hails from Harvard University and MIT’s Broad Institute, aims to develop the next generation of medical therapeutics by harnessing the gene editing technology known as CRISPR. A gene editing technique originally derived from bacterial immune systems, CRISPR has recently made headlines for its use in modifying DNA with unprecedented ease and accuracy.


Mobile app records our erratic eating habits

LA JOLLA–Breakfast, lunch and dinner? For too many of us, the three meals of the day go more like: morning meeting pastry, mid-afternoon energy drink and midnight pizza. In Cell Metabolism on September 24, Salk Institute scientists present daily food and beverage intake data collected from over 150 participants of a mobile research app over three weeks. They show that a majority of people eat for 15 hours or longer, with less than a quarter of the day’s calories being consumed before noon and over a third consumed after 6 p.m.


New grant will fund collaborative effort to build reproducible assays to model autism

LA JOLLA-The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $13 million grant over five years to develop and disseminate new stem cell-based technologies and assays for studying autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other mental health diseases to a consortium of researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, working in tandem with leaders in the biotechnology sector.


Tatyana Sharpee named to NSF team trying to crack olfactory code

LA JOLLA–Since the early 19th century, scientists have worked to unravel the mystery of olfaction, our sense of smell.


Can your sense of smell predict when you'll die?

LA JOLLA–By measuring how worms move toward an appealing, food-like scent, researchers at the Salk Institute were able to predict whether the worms would be long-lived. The finding, published September 22, 2015 in the journal eLife, shows how nematodes (Caenorhabditis elegans) process information about the environment and how circuits in the brain change as an animal ages.


Three Salk faculty honored as recipients of endowed chairs

Salk scientists John Reynolds, Ursula Bellugi and Alan Saghatelian have been honored with the dedication of three endowed chairs in acknowledgement of their outstanding contributions and dedication to scientific research. Bellugi and Reynolds were named inaugural holders of the Salk Founders’ Chair and Fiona and Sanjay Jha Chair in Neuroscience, respectively. Saghatalian was named holder of the Dr. Frederik Paulsen Chair in Neuroscience.


Not all organs age alike

LA JOLLA–Aging is typically thought of as the gradual decline of the whole body, but new research shows that age affects organs in strikingly different ways. A study published September 17, 2015 in Cell Systems provides the first comprehensive view of how cellular proteins age in different organs, revealing major differences between the liver and brain in young and old rats. The findings suggest that how an organ ages may depend on its unique cellular properties and its physiological function in the body.


In first, Salk scientists use sound waves to control brain cells

LA JOLLA–Salk scientists have developed a new way to selectively activate brain, heart, muscle and other cells using ultrasonic waves. The new technique, dubbed sonogenetics, has some similarities to the burgeoning use of light to activate cells in order to better understand the brain.


Ardent Salk supporter Edwin Hunter appointed to Institute board of trustees

LA JOLLA–The Salk Institute is pleased to announce the election of Edwin K. Hunter, a longtime supporter of the Institute and president of Hunter, Hunter & Sonnier, LLC, to its Board of Trustees. The Board voted on the appointment August 28.


Errant gene turns cells into mobile cancer factories

LA JOLLA–A single stem cell has the potential to generate an animal made of millions of different types of cells. Some cancers contain stem-like but abnormal cells that can act like mini factories to rapidly churn out not only more copies of themselves, but also variants that are able to better survive in the challenging and changing environments to which cancers are exposed. Worse still, these stem cell-like cancers can spread to other tissues in the body, causing metastasis.


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