The process by which embryonic stem cells develop into heart cells is complex, involving the precisely timed activation of several molecular pathways and at least 200 genes. Now, Salk Professor Kathy Jones and first author Conchi Estarás, alongside their colleagues, have found a simpler way to go from stem cells to heart cells that involves turning off a single gene, called YAP. The work, which appeared in Genes & Development on December 21, 2017, offers scientists a streamlined method to arrive at functioning heart cells (cardiomyocytes) for both research and regenerative therapies.
- Taking on the Big FiveCancer is not like other diseases. Most conditions have external causes—bacteria, viruses, injury—but cancer comes from inside us. Cells go rogue, divide recklessly, invade other tissues and spread throughout the body. They do things normal cells cannot do.
- Dan Lewis – Intense ConnectionFew trustees have had a connection as intensely personal as new Board Chair Dan Lewis, who knows firsthand that cures, indeed, begin with Salk. Thanks to the research of Salk Professor Tony Hunter, the drug Gleevec was born. And thanks to Gleevec, Lewis survived leukemia.
- Jared SmithNeuroscientist and self-described history geek Jared Smith wants to boldly go where no one has gone before. “If this were the 1400s,” asks Smith, “and we were Europeans exploring the world, where is the new world?” For Smith and colleagues in Xin Jin’s lab, the answer is simple: the brain.