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Targeting telomeres, the timekeepers of cells, could improve chemotherapy

LA JOLLA–Telomeres, specialized ends of our chromosomes that dictate how long cells can continue to duplicate themselves, have long been studied for their links to the aging process and cancer. Now, a discovery at the Salk Institute shows that telomeres may be more central than previously thought to a self-destruct program in cells that prevents tumors, a function that could potentially be exploited to improve cancer therapies.

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Protein plays unexpected role in embryonic stem cells

LA JOLLA–What if you found out that pieces of your front door were occasionally flying off the door frame to carry out chores around the house? That’s the kind of surprise scientists at the Salk Institute experienced with their recent discovery that nucleoporins–proteins that act as cellular “doorways” to help manage what goes in and out of a cell’s nucleus–are actually much bigger players in expressing genes than previously thought.

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Salk Institute scientist Nicola Allen named Pew Scholar

LA JOLLA–The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today that Salk Institute scientist Nicola Allen, an assistant professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, is one of 22 researchers to be named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. Allen joins the ranks of more than 600 outstanding scientists who have been selected as Pew scholars in the 30 years since the program’s inception.

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Salk Institute board of trustees elects neuroscientist Thomas M. Jessell and business leader Daniel Tierney

LA JOLLA, CA–The Salk Institute is pleased to announce the election of neuroscientist Thomas M. Jessell and business leader Daniel Tierney to its Board of Trustees. The Board voted on the appointments in April.

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Low glycemic index diet reduces symptoms of autism in mice

LA JOLLA–Bread, cereal and other sugary processed foods cause rapid spikes and subsequent crashes in blood sugar. In contrast, diets made up of vegetables, fruits and whole grains are healthier, in part because they take longer to digest and keep us more even-keeled.

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Salk scientists reveal epigenome maps of the human body’s major organs

LA JOLLA–For more than a decade, scientists have had a working map of the human genome, a complete picture of the DNA sequence that encodes human life. But new pages are still being added to that atlas: maps of chemical markers called methyl groups that stud strands of DNA and influence which genes are repressed and when.

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Salk recruits human geneticist Graham McVicker

LA JOLLA–Expanding on its leadership in genetics, the Salk Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Graham McVicker as an assistant professor in the Center for Integrative Biology and in the Laboratory of Genetics.

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Brain cells capable of "early-career" switch

LA JOLLA–Scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered that the role of neurons–which are responsible for specific tasks in the brain–is much more flexible than previously believed.

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Joanne Chory elected to the American Philosophical Society

Salk scientist Joanne Chory, a professor in the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, has received the prestigious honor of being elected to the American Philosophical Society (APS). The APS is an eminent scholarly organization of international reputation, which promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities. This country's first learned society, the APS has played an important role in American cultural and intellectual life for over 250 years.

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New stem cell may overcome hurdles for regenerative medicine

LA JOLLA–Scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered a novel type of pluripotent stem cell–cells capable of developing into any type of tissue–whose identity is tied to their location in a developing embryo. This contrasts with stem cells traditionally used in scientific study, which are characterized by their time-related stage of development.

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