The prevalence of colorectal cancer in people under the age of 50 has risen in recent decades. One suspected reason: the increasing rate of obesity and high-fat diets. Now, Professor Ronald Evans, co-first author Ting Fu, and colleagues, in collaboration with UC San Diego, discovered exactly how high-fat diets can change gut bacteria and alter digestive molecules called bile acids, predisposing mice to colorectal cancer. The findings help scientists better understand colorectal cancer and how to potentially prevent it.
“Super-enhancer” super-charges pancreatic tumor growth
Pancreatic cancers are among the most aggressive, deadly tumor types, and for years researchers have struggled to develop effective drugs against the tumors. Now, Professor Ronald Evans, first author Corina Antal, and colleagues have identified a new set of molecules that fuel the growth of tumors in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common type of pancreatic cancer. The new research explains how certain gene mutations trigger out-of-control growth in pancreatic cancer by activating a “super-enhancer” that turns on other genes. They also show the effectiveness of a new drug that puts the brakes on pancreatic cancer growth by blocking the effects of that super-enhancer.
- To inspire and educate: Salk’s Education Outreach is on a missionMotivated by Jonas Salk’s admonition to “be good ancestors,” Education Outreach strives to inspire the next generation of scientists. By running programs like the Mobile Science Lab or High School Science Day among others, Education Outreach encourages scientific literacy, enthusiasm in science as a career, and awareness of the value of basic research.
- Deepshika Ramanan–From iguana poop to breastmilkRamanan, a new assistant professor and microbiologist by training, made a chance discovery about animal gut bacteria that led to her fascination with breastmilk immunity.
- New strategic plan provides roadmap for enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at SalkGroundbreaking scientific discoveries require talented people behind the scenes, and the more diverse those people are, the more groundbreaking their discoveries. At Salk, improving diversity, equity, and inclusion is a commitment to both scientific discovery and humanity.
- Trinka Adamson–Supporting Salk science through animal careAdamson, senior director of Salk’s Animal Resources Department, works to provide the highest quality veterinary medical care, husbandry, enrichment, and professional technical support to enable our scientists to conduct their animal research and make their bold discoveries.
- Melissa Hernandez–Horses, hot sauce, and human brain researchHernandez, a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Professor Rusty Gage, journeyed up and down the west coast and turned from scientist to hot sauce entrepreneur and back before finally settling at Salk to study neuroscience.