Professor Reuben Shaw has spent nearly two decades piecing together how the cell responds to metabolic stress, which occurs when cellular energy levels dip. Whether energy levels fall because the cell’s powerhouses (mitochondria) are failing or due to a lack of necessary energy-making supplies, the response is the same: get rid of the damaged mitochondria and create new ones. Now, Shaw, first author Nazma Malik, and colleagues crack the case on this process of removal and replacement, finding that a protein called FNIP1 is the critical link between a cell sensing low energy levels and eliminating and replacing damaged mitochondria. The finding has implications for better understanding healthy aging, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and more.
- Leading with Technology – Salk scientists develop new means of discoveryOur scientists continue to push technological limits to—among other things—store more excess atmospheric carbon in deeper plant roots, study pancreatic cancer more accurately, follow cellular activity in real time more clearly, and track all kinds of motion more easily.
- Dannielle Engle—Putting patients firstEngle, an assistant professor, has a deeply personal connection to pancreatic cancer that changed her career trajectory and made her want to focus on the disease. Inside Salk sat down with Engle to find out more about her dedication to finding better treatment options.
- Weiwei Fan—Life is energyFan, a staff scientist in Professor Ronald Evans’ lab, studies mitochondria because he feels drawn to understanding how these energy generators within our cells function and the natural variations that exist between individuals.
- Natanella Illouz-Eliaz—Recipe for a plant biologist: tomatoes, failure, and perseveranceIllouz-Eliaz, a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Joseph Ecker’s lab, grew up in Israel near the border with Lebanon, where high-pitched sirens periodically drove her family into bomb shelters for safety. But her parents insisted that she get the best education possible.
- Richard Heyman—From Salk to biotech and backHeyman, a scientist and entrepreneur who has founded numerous biotechnology companies, currently serves as vice chair of Salk’s Board of Trustees, but his Salk story actually began when he was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Professor Ronald Evans.