On May 28, Salk supporters came to the Institute for an update on the Conquering Cancer Initiative and to learn about progress in pancreatic cancer research. Keynote speaker Lisa Niemi Swayze, widow of actor Patrick Swayze, spoke about her late husband’s battle with pancreatic cancer, and CCI Advisory Committee Chair Tim Schoen moderated a panel that included Salk Cancer Center faculty Ronald Evans, Tony Hunter and Dannielle Engle. Salk President Rusty Gage and Cancer Center Director Reuben Shaw emceed the evening.
Salk Women & Science honors award donors and recipients alike
The spring Women & Science event on March 13 celebrated the generosity of two Salk professors emeritae, Suzanne Bourgeois and Ursula Bellugi. Bourgeois established the Suzanne Bourgeois Women & Science Fund to advance the work of female Salk faculty while the Salk Trailblazer award was renamed in honor of Bellugi, who established an endowed fund to support those who have pioneered changes within the STEAM fields. At the event, Salk Professor Tatyana Sharpee gave a talk and fifteen scientists were awarded travel or professional development grants, while seven received Women & Science Special Awards. Three students were also recognized.
Institute Council sees a lot of heart
The fifth annual meeting of the Salk Institute Council was held on May 1, 2019, with a keynote address by Beth Sirull, president of the Jewish Community Foundation, who shared how community foundations engage, educate and inspire generations of givers. Salk ambassadors and philanthropic leaders heard updates on scientific initiatives, witnessed beating heart cells under a microscope in the Stem Cell Core, and toured the state-of-the-art plant growth chambers.
Education Outreach hosts booth on EXPO Day
Salk’s Education Outreach program participated in the 11th annual STEM Festival of Science and Engineering EXPO Day at Petco Park on March 2, 2019. Booth volunteers like Joanne Wang (left) showed visitors how to extract DNA, completing over 500 extractions throughout the day. The Festival attracts tens of thousands of science enthusiasts each year. Salk Education Outreach is proud to be a founding member of the celebration.
Salk alumni return to campus
Salk welcomed alumni back to campus on June 5, 2019, for an engaging discussion and opportunity to connect with both familiar and new faces. The Society of Research Fellows (SRF) introduced four Salk alumni panel speakers—Leanne Chukoskie, Maximiliano D’Angelo, Scott Struthers and Gene Yeo—who shared their experiences about pursuing both academic and industry career paths. Afterwards, alumni and current Salk scientists enjoyed hors d’oeuvres while reconnecting.
Conquering Cancer Summit
A mentor and mentee perspective on research
Salk Professor Geoffrey Wahl and Assistant Professor Dannielle Engle, who trained in Wahl’s lab as a graduate student, described their journeys to become scientists and their approach to tackle one of the most difficult public health problems we face today: cancer. They offered a unique perspective behind the scenes of the mentor/mentee relationship essential to encourage young scientists and shared their work in identifying vulnerabilities in breast and pancreatic cancer.
Music series ends on a high note
The Salk Science & Music Series concluded its season on April 28, 2019, with a presentation by Assistant Professor Sung Han, who spoke about his research on the neurological underpinnings of pain, and music by the Brubeck Brothers Jazz Quartet. This was the second time the Brubeck Brothers have performed at Salk to a sold-out crowd. The 2019-2020 season will open on November 3.
- Kay Tye – Breaking down the brainKay Tye, the newest addition to Salk’s faculty, is a burst of energy who can chat about everything from the mysteries of the brain to the intricacies of a breakdance move. In this Q&A, she discusses her roundabout journey to science, her passion for mentorship and her love of life outside the lab.
- How to stop a killerPancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect and treat, in part because of an impenetrable "shield" that forms around the tumor. Salk scientists, many of whom have a personal connection to cancer, are leading the charge in new approaches to tackle this deadly disease.
- Travis Berggren – Working at the intersection of biology and technologySenior Staff Scientist Travis Berggren shares his path to Salk and his perspective on how advances in technology facilitate world-changing discoveries in genetics, neuroscience, cancer, immunology, plant biology and other areas.
- Graziana GattoPostdoctoral Fellow Graziana Gatto comes to Salk from Italy, bringing her passion for scientific outreach and keen insights into how various sensations-like pain, itching or touch-are processed by the brain.