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Salk News

Gatsby Charitable Foundation awards $4 million to Salk-UC San Diego consortium to study brain circuitry

LA JOLLA—A new consortium of four research teams from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, San Diego has been selected by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, based in the United Kingdom, to receive a $4 million grant over five years to study neuronal circuits underlying higher brain function.

Salk Institute Kicks off 50th Anniversary Celebration with Chihuly at the Salk April 22-27, 2010

The bold iconic laboratory buildings of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies will receive a dramatic jolt of colorful artwork April 22-27 when the Institute kicks off its 50th anniversary celebration with Chihuly at the Salk – an outdoor installation by artist Dale Chihuly.

Salk Institute cancer researcher Tony Hunter named to Frederick W. and Joanna J. Mitchell Chair

LA JOLLA, CA—The Salk Institute for Biological Studies today announced the appointment of Professor Tony Hunter, Ph.D., as the inaugural holder of the Frederick W. and Joanna J. Mitchell Chair, created in memory of their daughter Marian Mitchell through a $2 million gift by the estate of Frederick W. Mitchell.

Root or Shoot: Power struggle between genetic master switches decides stem cell fate, growth orientation of plants

LA JOLLA, CA—The first order of business for any fledgling plant embryo is to determine which end grows the shoot and which end puts down roots. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute expose the turf wars between two groups of antagonistic genetic master switches that set up a plant’s polar axis with a root on one end and a shoot on the other.

The mouse with a human liver: a new model for the treatment of liver disease

LA JOLLA, CA—How do you study—and try to cure in the laboratory—an infection that only humans can get? A team led by Salk Institute researchers does it by generating a mouse with an almost completely human liver. This “humanized” mouse is susceptible to human liver infections and responds to human drug treatments, providing a new way to test novel therapies for debilitating human liver diseases and other diseases with liver involvement such as malaria.

Golf Tournament Highlights 50th Anniversary Celebration, Inaugural Fundraiser for Salk Institute

LA JOLLA, CA–As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies is inviting the public to celebrate five decades of groundbreaking scientific discoveries by participating in the 1st annual Salk Institute Golf Tournament, which takes place May 11, 2010 at the Del Mar Country Club. All proceeds from the event will directly benefit Salk’s pre-eminent medical research.

Nuclear pore complexes harbor new class of gene regulators, offer clues to gene expression and cancer

LA JOLLA, CA—Nuclear pore complexes are best known as the communication channels that regulate the passage of all molecules to and from a cell’s nucleus. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, however, have shown that some of the pores’ constituent proteins, called nucleoporins, pull double duty as transcription factors regulating the activity of genes active during early development.

Stress peptide and receptor may have role in diabetes

LA JOLLA, CA—The neuropeptide corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) makes cameo appearances throughout the body, but its leading role is as the opening act in the stress response, jump-starting the process along the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found that CRF also plays a part in the pancreas, where it increases insulin secretion and promotes the division of the insulin-producing beta cells.

Unwanted guests: How herpes simplex virus gets rid of the cell’s security guards

LA JOLLA, CA—A viral infection is like an uninvited, tenacious houseguest in the cell, using a range of tricks to prevent its eviction. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified one of the key proteins allowing herpes simplex virus (HSV) DNA to fly under the radar of their hosts’ involuntary hospitality.

Dual role for immune cells in the brain

LA JOLLA, CA—We all have at one time or another experienced the typical signs of an infection: the fever, the listlessness, the lack of appetite. They are orchestrated by the brain in response to circulating cytokines, the signaling molecules of the immune system. But just how cytokines’ reach extends beyond the almost impenetrable blood-brain barrier has been the topic of much dispute.

Seeing without looking

LA JOLLA, CA—Like a spotlight that illuminates an otherwise dark scene, attention brings to mind specific details of our environment while shutting others out. A new study by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies shows that the superior colliculus, a brain structure that primarily had been known for its role in the control of eye and head movements, is crucial for moving the mind’s spotlight.

Mobilizing the repair squad: Critical protein helps mend damaged DNA

LA JOLLA, CA—In order to preserve our DNA, cells have developed an intricate system for monitoring and repairing DNA damage. Yet precisely how the initial damage signal is converted into a repair response remains unclear. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have now solved a crucial piece of the complex puzzle.

Delaying the aging process protects against Alzheimer’s disease

LA JOLLA, CA—Aging is the single greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. In their latest study, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that simply slowing the aging process in mice prone to develop Alzheimer’s disease prevented their brains from turning into a neuronal wasteland.

Salk Institute receives $4.4M NIH Recovery Act grant to build state-of-the-art data center; Award is one of two in California

LA JOLLA, CA—The Salk Institute for Biological Studies has received a $4.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to build a state-of-the-art data center that will dramatically increase its research computing power for the next decade.

Harvard and Stanford Scientists join Salk Institute’s Non-Resident Fellows

LA JOLLA, CA—The Salk Institute has named two highly accomplished, world-renowned scientists from the stem cell and genomics research fields to join its faculty as Non-Resident Fellows.

Feeding the clock

LA JOLLA, CA—When you eat may be just as vital to your health as what you eat, found researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Their experiments in mice revealed that the daily waxing and waning of thousands of genes in the liver—the body’s metabolic clearinghouse—is mostly controlled by food intake and not by the body’s circadian clock as conventional wisdom had it.

Salk Institute Board of Trustees elects leaders in venture capital and publishing to its membership

LA JOLLA, CA—The Board of Trustees of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies unanimously voted to elect three new members during its November 13 meeting in La Jolla.

Salk recruits three top scientists in Immunobiology, Biophotonics and Neuroscience

LA JOLLA, CA—The Salk Institute for Biological Studies has recruited three assistant professors who exemplify the next generation of leading international scientists hired to forge new research territory and to build on existing investigative areas at the Institute.

Salk technology at the heart of gene therapy success

LA JOLLA, CA—Using a gene therapy delivery system developed in the laboratory of Inder Verma at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, an international team of researchers successfully treated two children with adrenoleukodystrophy or ALD, in which the fatty insulation of nerve cells degenerates. The genetic disorder leads to progressive brain damage and results in death within two to five years after diagnosis.

Unraveling the mechanisms behind organ regeneration in zebrafish

LA JOLLA, CA—The search for the holy grail of regenerative medicine—the ability to “grow back” a perfect body part when one is lost to injury or disease—has been under way for years, yet the steps involved in this seemingly magic process are still poorly understood.