On Wednesday, March 20, as the setting sun lined up with the River of Life, spring took hold. The renowned courtyard water feature, designed to represent the constant stream of scientific discoveries spilling out from the labs into the greater body of knowledge, aligned perfectly as the setting sun sank into the horizon. If only for a brief moment, those attending witnessed a special Salk experience and participated in a symbolic transition from one season to the next. It is, and will always be, a powerful reminder of the beauty of this architectural masterwork that serves as the scientific starting point for our researchers to transform our world for the better—just as Jonas Salk encouraged us to do.
Today our efforts are focused on deploying plants to tackle climate change, identifying strategies to conquer cancer, and working to uncover the mysteries of Alzheimer’s for effective interventions, just to name a few. These endeavors are the product of dedicated and passionate people pursuing scientific research in the glass, metal and concrete “cathedral to science” that we call home, regardless of the season.
For more than a year now I have had the privilege and honor to serve as president of the Institute. And while Salk has been my scientific home for more than 23 years, the view from the president’s office has given me a deeper, more profound appreciation for the people, events and discoveries that comprise the larger Salk community. This experience, the selfless support of our faculty and administration, our committed and passionate community of supporters, and the confidence in me expressed by the Board of Trustees all helped shape my decision to continue in this role. Being part of Salk’s past, present and future is what motivates me. It is this community of people who share a passion for asking big questions and pursuing bold ideas—a core philosophy of Salk—that inspires me. I am excited that together we will build on Jonas’ desire to “dare to make dreams into reality.”
Within the pages of this edition of Inside Salk you will discover how Salk scientists are pursuing bold research on aging, pay a visit to Professor Gerald Shadel and learn more about our efforts to promote environmental sustainability at the Institute. You’ll also meet some of the individuals that make this place so special and get caught up on the exciting activities from around Salk.
The future is bright for Salk because of our loyal and passionate community of supporters: people like you who care so deeply about science and how it can be used to better the world we live in. Thank you for your support of Salk and for being part of our mission. Our goal remains to leave our world better than we found it.
Fred H. Gage
President, Salk Institute