Insect-eating plants have fascinated biologists for more than a century, but how plants evolved the ability to capture and consume live prey has largely remained a mystery. Professor Joanne Chory, Staff Scientist Carl Procko, and colleagues from Washington University in St. Louis have found evidence that plant carnivory evolved from mechanisms plants use to defend themselves. The findings broaden scientists’ understanding of how plants interact with their environments.
Light and temperature work together to affect plant growth
Plants lengthen and bend to secure access to sunlight, yet scientists do not fully understand this process. Professor Joanne Chory, first author Yogev Burko, and colleagues have discovered that two plant factors—the protein PIF7 and the growth hormone auxin—are the triggers that accelerate growth when plants are shaded by canopy and exposed to warm temperatures at the same time. The findings will help scientists increase crop productivity despite the yield-harming global temperature rise.
- 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.