President's Letter

Dear Friends,

Thoughts of rejuvenation arrive with spring and in this issue of Inside Salk you’ll find that much of our current work at the Institute focuses on innovative ways to achieve vibrancy and health.

You’ll meet Janelle Ayres, one of our rising star faculty members, who is challenging the traditional use—and sometimes overuse—of antibiotics to fight infectious diseases. As anyone who reads the headlines knows, diseases that have long been controlled by antibiotic medications are staging a worldwide resurgence. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 2 million people in the U.S. become infected with antibiotic-resistant diseases each year and around 23,000 die. Janelle proposes a new way of tackling this problem: rather than trying to kill the invading bacteria, she aims to harness the body’s own “good” bacteria—its microbiome—to counter the damaging effects of pathogens. Her studies, already proving successful, are redesigning the protocol for how we deal with infectious disease.

In headlines of another kind, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory, is being hailed internationally for his work addressing the chronic shortage of donor organs by coaxing human cells to grow inside another species. You’ll read about this and many more groundbreaking findings in our Discoveries section.

Here on the Salk campus, we’re undergoing rejuvenation of an architectural nature. A months-long project to restore the teak components of our buildings, in partnership with The Getty Conservation Institute, is nearing completion. Filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn, son of famed architect Louis Kahn, who designed the Institute, and Dr. Jonathan Salk, Jonas Salk’s son, speak in this issue on the importance of the architectural icon their fathers worked together to create some 50 years ago.

Finally, you’ll get a peek inside the inventive mind of Ted Waitt, Salk’s new chairman of the Board. Ted, who founded Gateway, Inc., and guided it to a multibillion-dollar corporation, has been immensely successful applying innovative strategies to drive businesses forward. We are working closely with him here at Salk as we begin implementing an ambitious strategic plan to propel Salk forward for the next 50 years. That’s just about the time we’ll be returning our attention to the teak.

Be well!

Elizabeth Blackburn
President, Salk Institute
Irwin M. Jacobs Presidential Chair

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