Age may be just a number, but it’s a number that often carries unwanted side effects—from brittle bones and weaker muscles to increased risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer. In new research, Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte and co-first author Pradeep Reddy, in collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche group, have shown that they can safely and effectively reverse the aging process in middle-aged and elderly mice by partially resetting their cells to more youthful states. This approach may provide the medical community with a new tool to restore tissue and overall health by improving cell function and resilience in conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases.
Cellular regeneration therapy restores damaged liver tissue faster than ever
Mammals can’t typically regenerate organs as efficiently as other vertebrates, such as fish and lizards. But now Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, co-first authors Tomoaki Hishida and Mako Yamamoto, and colleagues have found a way to partially reset liver cells to more youthful states—allowing them to heal damaged tissue at a faster rate than previously observed. The results reveal that the use of reprogramming molecules can improve cell growth, leading to better liver tissue regeneration in mice. The work has implications for treating infection, cancer and genetic liver diseases, as well as metabolic diseases such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
- 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.
- Margarita Behrens—Master of brain circuitsGrowing 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.
- Julie Auger—Shaping Salk’s science through shared resourcesJulie 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.
- Gaurav Mendiratta— Using math to solve cancerJumping 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.
- A trailblazer’s lasting legacy: Ursula Bellugi bridged humanity and scienceDespite 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.