Samuel Pfaff

Professor

Gene Expression Laboratory

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Benjamin H. Lewis Chair

Salk Institute for Biological Studies - News

News


Your brain’s got rhythm

LA JOLLA—Not everyone is Fred Astaire or Michael Jackson, but even those of us who seem to have two left feet have got rhythm—in our brains. From breathing to walking …


Loss of tiny genetic molecules could play role in neurodegenerative diseases

LA JOLLA—A tiny sliver of a person’s DNA—several thousand times smaller than a typical gene—produces a molecule that has crucial influence over whether a person has any control over their …


Targeting mutant proteins might be silver bullet for neurodegenerative diseases

LA JOLLA–Scientists have unraveled how mutant molecules damage the nervous system of people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, a group of disorders that hinder people’s ability to move and feel sensation …


Scientists see motor neurons ‘walking’ in real time

LA JOLLA–When you’re taking a walk around the block, your body is mostly on autopilot–you don’t have to consciously think about alternating which leg you step with or which muscles …


“Magical state” of embryonic stem cells may help overcome hurdles to therapeutics

LA JOLLA, CA—With their potential to treat a wide range of diseases and uncover fundamental processes that lead to those diseases, embryonic stem (ES) cells hold great promise for biomedical …


Complex wiring of the nervous system may rely on just a handful of genes and proteins

LA JOLLA, CA—Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered a startling feature of early brain development that helps to explain how complex neuron wiring patterns are programmed using just a …


Unlocking the secret(ase) of building neural circuits

LA JOLLA, CA—Mutant presenilin is infamous for its role in the most aggressive form of Alzheimer’s disease-early-onset familial Alzheimer’s-which can strike people as early as their 30s. In their latest …


Salk Institute scientist receives $15.6 million CIRM Disease Team Award to develop novel stem-cell derived therapy for Lou Gehrig’s Disease

LA JOLLA—The Salk Institute has been awarded a $10.8 million grant by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for translational research focusing on developing a novel stem-cell based therapy …


Salk scientists selected as Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators

La Jolla, CA – Salk scientists Samuel L. Pfaff and Andrew Dillin have been selected as Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators, HHMI announced today. Both join a prestigious group …


Sharing the road

La Jolla, CA – Come summer, we will once again marvel at the amazing athletic skills of Olympic athletes while in fact, the simple act of walking is no less …


A mutation named Magellan steers nerve cells off course

La Jolla, CA – Newly launched nerve cells in a growing embryo must chart their course to distant destinations, and many of the means they use to navigate have yet …


Salk neurobiologist receives Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award

La Jolla, CA – Dr. Samuel L. Pfaff, a professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has been awarded the prestigious Senator Jacob Javits …


Detailed 3-D image catches a key regulator of neural stem cell differentiation in action

La Jolla, CA – Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in collaboration with scientists at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) took a high …


New roles for growth factors: Enticing nerve cells to muscles

La Jolla, CA – During embryonic development, nerve cells hesitantly extend tentacle-like protrusions called axons that sniff their way through a labyrinth of attractive and repulsive …


In mice, walking (and running) depends on nerve cell chatter during development

La Jolla, CA – The ability of a pair of legs to walk in a stepwise fashion with each other appears to be set up during a brief period as …


Molecular ‘zipcode’ guides nerves to correct places in body

La Jolla, CA – During embryonic development, thousands of nerves must be connected to muscles as part of a communication network that allows the newborn to move, breathe and lead …


Motor Nerve Cell “Factory” Findings May Elicit Treatments for Spinal Cord Injury, Disease

La Jolla, CA – Manufacturing motor nerve cells may someday be possible to help restore function in victims of spinal cord injury or such diseases of motion as Parkinson’s and …


Education

Undergraduate degree, Carleton College in Minnesota
PhD, Molecular Biology, UC Berkeley
Postdoctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt University and the Center for Neurobiology at Columbia University


Awards & Honors

  • 2008 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
  • 2007 Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award
  • McKnight Scholar
  • Basil O'Connor Award
  • Pew Scholar