In this issue

Frontiers

What’s so special about Salk? Everything.

An exceptional history, visionary design and trailblazing faculty make the Salk Institute unique among elite research institutions. And we’re just getting started. Today, Salk faculty are daily making discoveries that may one day turn the tide on Alzheimer’s, aging, cancers, climate change and more.

Observations

Margarita Behrens—Master of brain circuits

Growing up in Chile, Research Professor Margarita Behrens was torn between becoming an architect and a scientist. She ultimately decided to pursue biochemistry. Now at Salk, Behrens studies how neurons develop in the brain. Her findings have implications for neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.

In Memorium

A trailblazer’s lasting legacy: Ursula Bellugi bridged humanity and science

Despite being a world-renowned, award-winning scientific pioneer, Distinguished Professor Emerita Ursula Bellugi didn’t like to say she was smart. Instead, she credited her tremendous success to her insatiable curiosity and her willingness to ask the right questions. This past spring, the world lost a true trailblazer.

Insights

Julie Auger—Shaping Salk’s science through shared resources

Julie Auger’s mother was at a conference in the mid-1980s when she met Jonas Salk. She got his autograph and mailed it to Auger with a note saying, “Don’t ever stop trying to achieve your dreams.” Auger took her mom’s advice, and today she is the executive director of Research Operations at the Salk Institute.

Next Gen

Gaurav Mendiratta—Using math to solve cancer

Jumping from theoretical physics to cancer research with no prior training in biological sciences wasn’t an easy transition for Gaurav Mendiratta. Couple this with a move across the world and the birth of his first child shortly after starting his postdoctoral training in a newly opened laboratory—Mendiratta had his work cut out for him.

President’s Letter

“From our exceptional history and visionary architectural design to the trailblazing scientists who have collaborated on big ideas and pursued answers to the very foundations of life over the last 60-plus years, every ingredient has made the Salk Institute unique among elite research institutions.”

Fred H. Gage
President

Discoveries

Spotlight

Salk welcomes  four new leaders

Salk welcomes four new leaders

Over the past few months, the Institute has welcomed four new leaders to the Salk community. Professor Gerald Joyce was selected as Salk’s new senior vice president and chief science officer, following the departure of Martin Hetzer; Marna Whittington was appointed Board chair, assuming the role from Daniel Lewis; Bryan Robinson was named vice president […]
Salk promotes Kenta Asahina,  Eiman Azim and Margarita Behrens

Salk promotes Kenta Asahina, Eiman Azim and Margarita Behrens

Assistant Professors Kenta Asahina and Eiman Azim were promoted to associate professor, and Associate Research Professor Margarita Behrens was promoted to research professor, each for their original, innovative and notable contributions to neuroscience.
Salk Institute receives Charity Navigator’s highest rating for 11th consecutive time

Salk Institute receives Charity Navigator’s highest rating for 11th consecutive time

For the 11th consecutive time, the Salk Institute earned the highest ranking—four out of four stars—from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity and nonprofit evaluator. Only two percent of the approximately 10,000 nonprofits evaluated have achieved this recognition 10 consecutive times.
Professor Martyn Goulding wins Brain Prize

Professor Martyn Goulding wins Brain Prize

Goulding received the Lundbeck Foundation’s 2022 Brain Prize for pioneering research on the neuronal circuits that control movement. Goulding shares the prize—the world’s top recognition in neuroscience, totaling 10 million DKK (approximately $1.5 million)—with Professor Ole Kiehn at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Professor Silvia Arber at the University of Basel and Friedrich Miescher Institute in Switzerland. His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Denmark bestowed the prize to the trio at an event in Copenhagen on May 24.
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Events

Salk Science & Music Series

Salk Science & Music Series

The eighth season of the Salk Science & Music Series wrapped on June 12 with the beautiful music of pianist Sean Chen, and Professor Martyn Goulding gave a presentation on current work in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory.
Power of Science lecture series

Power of Science lecture series

On April 6, Professor Greg Lemke delivered a presentation titled “21st Century Salk: Building a More Resilient World” as part of Salk’s Power of Science Lecture Series. A Salk researcher since 1985, Lemke described how our understanding of biology and the way research is conducted have changed dramatically since the Institute’s founding. He also shared […]
Newest Trailblazer Award Recipient Rebecca Newman

Newest Trailblazer Award Recipient Rebecca Newman

Rebecca Newman, Salk’s recently retired vice president of External Relations, was honored with the Ursula Bellugi Trailblazer Award at the July 14 Salk Women & Science event. Newman’s ability to establish strong relationships with leading philanthropists and some of San Diego’s biggest employers in the biotech industry has been key to her success as a fundraiser. Prior to joining Salk, she served for six years as associate vice chancellor of development at UC San Diego, where she successfully led the university’s capital campaign and exceeded its $1 billion goal.
Salk Women & Science Program Leading Through the Pandemic and Beyond

Salk Women & Science Program Leading Through the Pandemic and Beyond

During a special Women & Science event on July 14, a panel of speakers discussed the unique challenges faced by women leaders in science and industry during the COVID pandemic, new research opportunities and lessons learned, the importance of supporting women leaders, and the future of the Salk Institute.
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