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Salk News


New method could democratize deep learning-enhanced microscopy

LA JOLLA—Deep learning is a potential tool for scientists to glean more detail from low-resolution images in microscopy, but it’s often difficult to gather enough baseline data to train computers in the process. Now, a new method developed by scientists at the Salk Institute could make the technology more accessible—by taking high-resolution images, and artificially degrading them.


$200,000 gifted to Salk’s Coastal Plant Restoration project

Recently, donors completed a matching challenge, gifting $200,000 to Salk’s Coastal Plant Restoration (CPR) program to address increasingly urgent needs to preserve some of the world’s largest carbon reservoirs and restore global wetland ecosystems. This approach holds great promise for safeguarding these tremendous carbon sinks while stabilizing, and in many cases, rebuilding land lost to erosion and unprecedented sea level rise.


Salk Professors Satchin Panda and Tatyana Sharpee honored with endowed chairs

LA JOLLA—Professors Satchin Panda and Tatyana Sharpee have both been recognized for their contributions and dedication to advancing science through research by being named to endowed chairs at the Salk Institute.


Salk receives $1 million from BioMed Realty to support innovative cancer research and faculty

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute received a matching $1 million gift from the BioMed Realty Management Team, which was used to fund the recruitment of award-winning cancer researcher Christina Towers and to support her research and that of the Salk Cancer Center. The challenge match—where BioMed Realty matches, dollar for dollar, up to $1 million—will also support Salk’s bold Conquering Cancer Initiative, which is harnessing cutting-edge approaches to fight some of the deadliest cancers, including pancreatic, ovarian, lung, colon, brain (glioblastoma) and triple-negative breast cancer.


Salk team reveals never-before-seen antibody binding, informing both liver cancer and antibody design

LA JOLLA—In structural biology, some molecules are so unusual they can only be captured with a unique set of tools. That’s precisely how a multi-institutional research team led by Salk scientists defined how antibodies can recognize a compound called phosphohistidine—a highly unstable molecule that has been found to play a central role in some forms of cancer, such as liver and breast cancer and neuroblastoma.


Research catches up to world’s fastest-growing plant

LA JOLLA—Wolffia, also known as duckweed, is the fastest-growing plant known, but the genetics underlying this strange little plant’s success have long been a mystery to scientists. Now, thanks to advances in genome sequencing, researchers are learning what makes this plant unique—and, in the process, discovering some fundamental principles of plant biology and growth.


Specific bacteria in the gut prompt mother mice to neglect their pups

LA JOLLA—As scientists learn more about the microorganisms that colonize the body—collectively called the microbiota—one area of intense interest is the effect that these microbes can have on the brain. A new study led by Salk Institute scientists has identified a strain of E. coli bacteria that, when living in the guts of female mice, causes them to neglect their offspring.


Salk’s NOMIS Center receives $9.5 million to shape the future of research into health and immunity

LA JOLLA—As we endure a global viral pandemic, our appreciation for health and immunity has never been greater. Now, thanks to a generous gift from the NOMIS Foundation, Salk’s NOMIS Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis will receive $9.5 million to grow and expand, while continuing to be a leader in health and immunity research.


Salk scientists awarded $1.2 million by Larry L. Hillblom Foundation to study brain aging and dementia

LA JOLLA—A collaborative team of Salk scientists led by Professor John Reynolds will receive $1.2 million over four years as part of a Network Grant from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation to examine aging across the life span, including age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. The research will advance our understanding of aging mechanisms at the cognitive, genomic and cellular levels with potentially direct translatability to humans. Other members of the team include Salk President and Professor Rusty Gage, Staff Scientist Uri Manor, Senior Staff Researcher Courtney Glavis-Bloom, and Carol Marchetto, an assistant professor at the University of California San Diego.


Statement by Salk President Rusty Gage on the events of January 6, 2021

Yesterday will be remembered as one of the darkest moments in our nation’s history, as one of the most important institutions central to our freedom and democracy was attacked by a mob with malice and force in a failed attempt to prevent the constitutional certification of the November elections.


New clues why gold standard treatment for bipolar disorder doesn’t work for majority of patients

LA JOLLA—Lithium is considered the gold standard for treating bipolar disorder (BD), but nearly 70 percent of people with BD don’t respond to it. This leaves them at risk for debilitating, potentially life-threatening mood swings. Researchers at the Salk Institute have found that the culprit may lie in gene activity—or lack of it.


Salk Assistant Professor Dmitry Lyumkis receives CAREER award from NSF

LA JOLLA—Assistant Professor Dmitry Lyumkis has received a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER award supports early career scientists who serve as academic role models and lead scientific advances in their organization. Lyumkis will receive almost $1.8 million over four years to examine how some viruses such as HIV hijack and interact with host protein machinery to permanently alter the host genome to sustain infection.


Salk Institute welcomes human resources executive Dennis Driver as new trustee

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute Board of Trustees welcomes its newest member, Dennis Driver. Chaired by Daniel C. Lewis, the Salk Board helps drive the direction of the world-renowned biological research facility founded by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk in 1960.


Computational model reveals how the brain manages short-term memories

LA JOLLA—If you’ve ever forgotten something mere seconds after it was at the forefront of your mind—the name of a dish you were about to order at a restaurant, for instance—then you know how important working memory is. This type of short-term recall is how people retain information for a matter of seconds or minutes to solve a problem or carry out a task, like the next step in a series of instructions. But, although it’s critical in our day-to-day lives, exactly how the brain manages working memory has been a mystery.


Teaching artificial intelligence to adapt

LA JOLLA—Getting computers to “think” like humans is the holy grail of artificial intelligence, but human brains turn out to be tough acts to follow. The human brain is a master of applying previously learned knowledge to new situations and constantly refining what’s been learned. This ability to be adaptive has been hard to replicate in machines.


When it comes to feeling pain, touch or an itch, location matters

LA JOLLA—When you touch a hot stove, your hand reflexively pulls away; if you miss a rung on a ladder, you instinctively catch yourself. Both motions take a fraction of a second and require no forethought. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute have mapped the physical organization of cells in the spinal cord that help mediate these and similar critical “sensorimotor reflexes.”


Award-winning cancer researcher to join Salk faculty

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute is excited to welcome Assistant Professor Christina Towers, a top researcher in the field of cancer biology. Towers will join Salk’s renowned NCI-designated Cancer Center to examine how cancer cells recycle both their own nutrients and the power-generating structures called mitochondria in order to survive. Her long-term goal is to improve the treatment options for cancer patients.


Salk neuroscientists receive $4.4 million from NIH BRAIN Initiative

LA JOLLA—Salk Institute neuroscientists Edward Callaway, Sreekanth Chalasani, and Nancy Padilla Coreano have been named recipients in the 2020 round of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to gain new insights into brain function.


Salk’s Uri Manor to receive over $690,000 from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to advance biological imaging

LA JOLLA—Salk Staff Scientist Uri Manor, director of the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Core Facility, will receive $690,116 over three years from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) as one of 22 CZI Imaging Scientists, to develop new open-source imaging tools and data sets while expanding his educational outreach.


Salk Professors Susan Kaech and Alan Saghatelian named 2020 AAAS Fellows

LA JOLLA—Salk Professors Susan Kaech and Alan Saghatelian have been named 2020 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. Kaech and Saghatelian are among 489 new AAAS Fellows who were nominated by their peers for their distinguished efforts to advance science.