In this issue

Frontiers

The weed that changed the world

How Arabidopsis thaliana became one of the most important tools in science—and how the information the small weed has revealed over decades of research now enables the development of Salk Ideal PlantsTM, a new generation of food crops that are better equipped to both thrive in a changing climate and help mitigate it.

In The News

The Salk Institute and Lustgarten Foundation form strategic pancreatic cancer research partnership

Supported by a $5 million grant, the partnership aims to identify and validate potential targets for new pancreatic cancer drugs. Four participating labs, led by Salk Professors Reuben Shaw, Ronald Evans, Tony Hunter and Assistant Professor Dannielle Engle, will bring their individual areas of complementary expertise to bear on the collaborative goal.

Observations

Kenta Asahina — Flying into the future of technology and innovation

Originally from Japan, Associate Professor Kenta Asahina grew up exploring nearby farmlands with his two brothers in search of insects and plants. Their dad enjoyed taking them to the mountains and national parks. These experiences inspired his interest in the natural world, and Asahina now studies how genetics impact fruit fly behavior.

Insights

Courtney Glavis-Bloom — Shining the spotlight on aging to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease

Senior Staff Scientist Courtney Glavis-Bloom’s work is driven by her experience caring for her grandparents, who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when she was in high school. She saw firsthand how dementia robs individuals of their connections to the world—now she studies the brain areas affected in aging in the hope of finding a cure.

Next Gen

Helen McRae — Leveraging the body’s own immune response for more effective cancer therapies

Helen McRae was a graduate student when her cousin was diagnosed with lung cancer and received immunotherapy—an approach that empowers a patient’s own immune system to destroy tumors. McRae saw the promise of this newer treatment, but also how much more research is needed to help it work for more people.

President’s Letter

“It’s undeniable that science and technology are rapidly changing and, as stewards of Jonas Salk’s legacy, it is our responsibility to meet the most pressing challenges head-on and to ensure that the next 60 years of Salk science are as impactful to the world as the first 60.”

Fred H. Gage
President

Discoveries

Spotlight

Donor Profile – How would you change the world?

Donor Profile – How would you change the world?

These generous supporters gave to Salk’s Campaign for the Future: Building a More Resilient World in varying amounts, big and small, each crucial and deeply appreciated. The impact of their gifts will be maximized through the generosity of Irwin and Joan Jacobs’ match challenge (they will contribute $1 for every $2 donated—up to $100 million—for every new gift), and fully realized once Salk completes construction of the new state-of-the-art, 100,000-square-foot Joan and Irwin Jacobs Science and Technology Center.
San Diego Nathan Shock Center announces grant awardees

San Diego Nathan Shock Center announces grant awardees

Recently, the San Diego Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, a consortium between the Salk Institute, Sanford Burnham Prebys and the University of California San Diego, announced its second-year class of pilot grant awardees. Recipients from six different institutions will receive up to $15,000 to pursue research that advances our understanding of how humans age, with the ultimate goal of extending health span—the number of years of healthy, disease-free life.
Professor  Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte tapped for high-profile life sciences position

Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte tapped for high-profile life sciences position

After nearly 30 years at the Institute, Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte will soon lead the San Diego division of Altos Institutes of Science, a newly created life sciences company focused on cellular rejuvenation programming to restore cell health and resilience.
Salk scientists receive the 2021 ASPIRE award to study pancreatic cancer

Salk scientists receive the 2021 ASPIRE award to study pancreatic cancer

Professor Ronald Evans and Assistant Professor Dannielle Engle were granted a 2021 ASPIRE (Accelerating Scientific Platforms and Innovative Research) award to study the cellular and molecular drivers of pancreatic cancer. The $250,000 award, supported by The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, enables innovative approaches to solving impactful problems in cancer research. The 23 scientists chosen […]
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Events

Salkexcellerators Mixer

Salkexcellerators Mixer

On October 27, 2021, Professor Alan Saghatelian and Postdoctoral Researcher and 2021 Salkexcellerators Fellow Jacob Tremblay shared highlights from their labs with the Salkexcellerators group in an outdoor mixer. Salkexcellerators are the next generation of community members who support scientific discovery at Salk and engage with scientists through a full schedule of activities.
Melvin Cohn Lecture on Conceptual Immunology

Melvin Cohn Lecture on Conceptual Immunology

On November 17, 2021, pioneering scientist Ruslan Medzhitov led a thought-provoking lecture on conceptual immunology. Medzhitov is a Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine. He has made multiple seminal discoveries in the fields of inflammation and immunobiology. A reception was held after the lecture in the Red Brick Courtyard.
Power of Science: Impact of  Salk Science on Humanity

Power of Science: Impact of Salk Science on Humanity

On December 8, 2021, Ha Nguyen, senior director of the Office of Technology Development, highlighted the past and present successes of translating Salk’s scientific discoveries into technologies and interventions that prevent, treat or mitigate some of our most difficult health challenges, to benefit humankind. See The Power of Science at salk.edu.
Salk Women & Science  10-Year Anniversary

Salk Women & Science 10-Year Anniversary

On December 1, 2021, Salk Women & Science celebrated its 10-year anniversary of engaging women in the community with leaders in biological science and technology. This year’s event was held in honor of Swati Tyagi, a postdoctoral researcher in the Hetzer lab who was tragically killed in June 2021. A Women & Science endowed fund has been established in her name. In addition, the Salk Women & Science Special Awards were presented.
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