SALK NEWS

Salk Institute for Biological Studies - SALK NEWS

Salk News


Salk Institute among cross-collaborative teams gifted $220 million by Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance

LA JOLLA—A Salk Institute team led by Professor Satchin Panda, along with teams from five other organizations, have been awarded a total of $220 million by the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation’s Human Performance Alliance, whose philanthropic investment aims to transform human health on a global scale through the discovery and translation of the biological principles underlying human performance.


Salk Professor and neuroscientist Kay Tye wins Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists

LA JOLLA—Salk Professor Kay Tye has been named one of three winners of the prestigious Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, one of the world’s largest unrestricted prizes for early-career researchers. Tye, the laureate in the Life Sciences category, will receive $250,000 for her trailblazing work in studying the neural circuits and behaviors related to anxiety and social interaction.


How plants quickly adapt to shifting environmental conditions

LA JOLLA—Scientists—and gardeners—have long known that plants grow taller and flower sooner when they are shaded by close-growing neighbors. Now, for the first time, researchers at the Salk Institute have shown the detailed inner workings of this process.


Mourning the loss of one of our colleagues

It is with heartfelt sorrow that we inform you of the death of a member of the Salk community, Swati Tyagi, PhD. Swati, a postdoctoral researcher in the Hetzer lab, was tragically killed yesterday when a person in a car struck her from behind while she was riding her bike. We offer our deepest condolences to her family, friends and coworkers at this difficult time.


How neurons get past “no”

LA JOLLA—When looking at a complex landscape, the eye needs to focus in on important details without losing the big picture—a charging lion in a jungle, for example. Now, a new study by Salk scientists shows how inhibitory neurons play a critical role in this process.


Salk Institute receives Charity Navigator’s highest rating for tenth consecutive time

LA JOLLA—(June 15, 2021) For the tenth consecutive time, the Salk Institute has earned the highest ranking—4 out of 4 stars—from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity and nonprofit evaluator. Only three percent of the roughly 10,000 nonprofits evaluated have achieved this recognition ten consecutive times. The coveted ranking indicates the Salk Institute has demonstrated strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency, outperforming most other charities in America in regard to executing best fiscal practices and carrying out its mission in a financially efficient way.


“Bad fat” suppresses killer T cells from attacking cancer

LA JOLLA—In order for cancer to grow and spread, it has to evade detection by our immune cells, particularly specialized “killer” T cells. Salk researchers led by Professor Susan Kaech have found that the environment inside tumors (the tumor microenvironment) contains an abundance of oxidized fat molecules, which, when ingested by the killer T cells, suppresses their ability to kill cancer cells. In a vicious cycle, those T cells, in need of energy, increase the level of a cellular fat transporter, CD36, that unfortunately saturates them with even more oxidized fat and further curtails their anti-tumor functions.


Research advances one step closer to stem cell therapy for type 1 diabetes

LA JOLLA—Type 1 diabetes, which arises when the pancreas doesn’t create enough insulin to control levels of glucose in the blood, is a disease that currently has no cure and is difficult for most patients to manage. Scientists at the Salk Institute are developing a promising approach for treating it: using stem cells to create insulin-producing cells (called beta cells) that could replace nonfunctional pancreatic cells.


Salk Fellows Program welcomes Talmo Pereira

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute has appointed neuroscientist Talmo Pereira to the Salk Fellows Program, renewing the program’s commitment to supporting future intellectual leaders in the biological sciences.


New study shows how to boost muscle regeneration and rebuild tissue

LA JOLLA—One of the many effects of aging is loss of muscle mass, which contributes to disability in older people. To counter this loss, scientists at the Salk Institute are studying ways to accelerate the regeneration of muscle tissue, using a combination of molecular compounds that are commonly used in stem-cell research.


Salk scientists reveal role of genetic switch in pigmentation and melanoma

LA JOLLA—Despite only accounting for about 1 percent of skin cancers, melanoma causes the majority of skin cancer-related deaths. While treatments for this serious disease do exist, these drugs can vary in effectiveness depending on the individual.


Distinguished bioengineer Christian Metallo to join Salk as a full professor

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute welcomes bioengineer Christian Metallo, who will join the Salk faculty as a full professor in July 2021. He is currently an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of California San Diego.


Transforming atmospheric carbon into industrially useful materials

LA JOLLA—Plants are unparalleled in their ability to capture CO2 from the air, but this benefit is temporary, as leftover crops release carbon back into the atmosphere, mostly through decomposition. Researchers have proposed a more permanent, and even useful, fate for this captured carbon by turning plants into a valuable industrial material called silicon carbide (SiC)—offering a strategy to turn an atmospheric greenhouse gas into an economically and industrially valuable material.


Salk scientists awarded $10,000 to $100,000 by Kavli Small Equipment Grant Program in 2021

The Kavli Foundation champions scientific research through its Small Equipment Grant program that provides scientists with unconstrained opportunities to drive greater discovery. The funding will support Salk faculty and research professors working in neuroscience and related fields to purchase or build equipment needed to further their research, ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.


The novel coronavirus’ spike protein plays additional key role in illness

LA JOLLA—Scientists have known for a while that SARS-CoV-2’s distinctive “spike” proteins help the virus infect its host by latching on to healthy cells. Now, a major new study shows that the virus spike proteins (which behave very differently than those safely encoded by vaccines) also play a key role in the disease itself.


Salk scientists reveal how brain cells in Alzheimer’s go awry, lose their identity

LA JOLLA—Despite the prevalence of Alzheimer’s, there are still no treatments, in part because it has been challenging to study how the disease develops. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute have uncovered new insights into what goes awry during Alzheimer’s by growing neurons that resemble—more accurately than ever before—brain cells in older patients. And like patients themselves, the afflicted neurons appear to lose their cellular identity.


Researchers trace spinal neuron family tree

LA JOLLA—Spinal cord nerve cells branching through the body resemble trees with limbs fanning out in every direction. But this image can also be used to tell the story of how these neurons, their jobs becoming more specialized over time, arose through developmental and evolutionary history. Salk researchers have, for the first time, traced the development of spinal cord neurons using genetic signatures and revealed how different subtypes of the cells may have evolved and ultimately function to regulate our body movements.


San Diego Nathan Shock Center announces first grant awardees at inaugural training workshop

LA JOLLA—The San Diego Nathan Shock Center (SD-NSC) of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, a consortium between the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Sanford Burnham Prebys (SBP) Medical Discovery Institute and the University of California San Diego, has announced the first class of pilot grant awardees at the center’s inaugural training workshop. Six recipients, each from a different institution, will receive up to $15,000 to pursue research that advances our understanding of how humans age, with the ultimate goal of extending the number of years of healthy, disease-free life (i.e., health span).


Salk’s Sreekanth Chalasani wins 2021 NPA Gallagher Mentor Award

LA JOLLA—Salk Associate Professor Sreekanth Chalasani has won the 2021 National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) Gallagher Mentor Award. The announcement was made at the 2021 NPA Annual Conference, which took place April 15 and 16. Chalasani was one of eight finalists for the prestigious award.


Chimeric tool advanced for wide range of regenerative medicine, biomedical research applications

LA JOLLA—The ability to grow the cells of one species within an organism of a different species offers scientists a powerful tool for research and medicine. It’s an approach that could advance our understanding of early human development, disease onset and progression and aging; provide innovative platforms for drug evaluation; and address the critical need for transplantable organs. Yet developing such capabilities has been a formidable challenge.