Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte and colleagues from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have discovered a new underlying cause of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, a rare genetic disease that leads to bleeding and immune deficiencies in babies. Their findings involve the way cells cut and paste strands of RNA in a process called RNA splicing. The genetic mutations associated with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, they found, disrupt this process, ultimately preventing numerous immune and anti-inflammatory proteins from being made correctly.
Immune System Biology
Hair-raising research: The fascinating link between the immune system and hair growth
Associate Professor Ye Zheng, first author Zhi Liu, and colleagues have uncovered an unexpected molecular target of a common treatment for alopecia, a condition in which a person’s immune system attacks their own hair follicles, causing hair loss. Their findings describe how immune cells interact with skin cells using a hormone as a messenger to generate new hair follicles and hair growth.
- Human Connection – How social interaction and isolation influence our physical and mental healthSalk neuroscientists study how our brains allow us to experience, interpret, and interact with the world around us. Many of these researchers are now studying not only the brain alone, but the brain in a social context.
- Salk scientists lead $126 million effort to map the aging human brainThe largest grant in Institute history has established the new Center for Multiomic Human Brain Cell Atlas to detail the many individual cells that make up the human brain—their molecular features, where they are found, and how they change with age.
- Gerald Joyce—An organizing forceJoyce was appointed Salk’s senior vice president and chief science officer in early 2022. Inside Salk sat down with him to learn about his research on the evolution of RNA, as well as the evolution of his career, science, and Salk.
- A life in service to science and others: Walter Eckhart exemplified generosity and kindnessEckhart, professor emeritus and director of the Salk Institute’s National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and head of the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory for more than 30 years, died on June 21, 2022, at his home in La Jolla, California, at the age of 84.
- Georg Heinrich “Heini” Thyssen-Bornemisza—Salk Institute mourns loss of influential former Board memberThyssen’s leadership and generosity helped accelerate scientific efforts at the Institute over the years, always with a focus on allowing Salk scientists to continue their pursuit of high-risk, high-impact research. He died on September 30, 2022.
- Mallory Zaslav—Valuing the differences in backgrounds and experiencesAs vice president of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Zaslav’s forward thinking and advocacy have given shape to a range of impact-driven programming and outreach, furthering Salk’s mission of bettering humanity by pushing the boundaries of innovation and discovery.
- Katia Troha—Discovering diets that boost survival during infectionGrowing up in Peru, Troha’s love of science was fueled by documentaries on groundbreaking studies like the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep. She is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Salk lab of Professor Janelle Ayres.
- Heithoff-Brody High School Summer Scholars program paves the way for future scientistsFor more than 30 years, Salk’s Heithoff-Brody High School Summer Scholars program has provided hands-on laboratory experiences for local high school students interested in exploring careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.