Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center


Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center - About


Launched with a landmark $20 million pledge from the Waitt Foundation, the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center will serve as a state-of-the-art research hub within the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, enabling investigators from across many disciplines to gain unprecedented insight into the inner workings of cells and tissues.

Researchers from all fields, from aging and cancer to neuroscience, metabolism and vision will rely on the center to visualize how living systems function at a level of detail previously not possible. By observing how single molecules and cells function in real-time and deciphering what goes wrong when they malfunction, scientists will begin to learn how Alzheimer’s disease develops; how a cell turns cancerous; and how neurons in a living brain respond to stress, exercise, learning and diet, to name just a few examples.

The Waitt Challenge

Because the Waitt Foundation believes so strongly in the Salk Institute’s ability to draw on the potential of biophotonics to make breakthrough discoveries, the foundation structured its generous commitment as a challenge grant. The institute was challenged to raise $20 million in new private funding. That goal helped focus the institute’s efforts to expand its donor prospect base and secure new gifts. Since the challenge was issued, two new donor-foundations have committed more than $15 million to the Salk.

About the Waitt Foundation

The Waitt Foundation was established in 1993 by Ted Waitt, co-founder of Gateway. Based in La Jolla, CA, the foundation has made over 2,000 grants totaling over $100 million to non-profit and charitable organizations both at home and abroad. Funding partnerships and projects in conjunction with its grantees and two operating foundations, the Waitt Institute for Discovery and the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention, the foundation supports a variety of initiatives through its four program areas: ocean conservation, exploration and discovery, scientific innovation, and community building. The Waitt Foundation looks for bold new ideas and people with the skills and determination to make a deep, lasting, and sustainable difference throughout the world and in our daily lives.

The Waitt Foundation has been named among the Top 50 U.S. Foundations Awarding Grants for Science and Technology, Top 50 U.S. Foundations Awarding Grants for the Social Sciences and Top 50 U.S. Foundations Awarding Grants in the San Diego, CA, Metropolitan Area.