April 18, 2013

William R. Brody


Saturday, April 13, was one of the best days I've spent at Salk. For our Step into Discovery event, I was joined by almost 700 walkers and hundreds of visitors, who delighted in meeting our scientists, touring our labs and introducing their children to science. The attendees rewarded us with their enthusiasm, support and curiosity about how we make life-changing discoveries.


We all shared in the spirit of open doors, upbeat adventure, fascinating science, wellness and living the work and values that inspire the Salk everyday.


The day was a great opportunity to highlight the excellence of Salk science, our people and our role as an integral part of the San Diego community. Visitors expressed great pride in being part of a world-renowned research institution. We are grateful to all of our faculty, volunteers, participants, contributors, staff scientists, vendors, sponsors, and to the citizens of San Diego for sharing their weekend with us.



Yours in Discovery,

 William R. Brody

Dynamic Brain Initiative

Terrence J. Sejnowski
Terrence J. Sejnowski

On April 2, we were thrilled to watch President Barack Obama announce the launch of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative----a major federal neuroscience effort that advances and builds upon collaborative scientific work by leading brain researchers, including Salk's own Terrence J. Sejnowskiwho travelled to Washington to join President Obama for the announcement.


The BRAIN project dovetails with the Salk Institute's Dynamic Brain Initiative, a neuroscience initiative focused on providing a better understanding of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system.    


"We're not jumping in and mapping the entire active human brain," says Sejnowski. "But we are at a point where we can develop the tools to map entire circuits, first in invertebrates and eventually in mammals."


The Salk Institute is home to several pioneering tool builders, among them Edward M. Callaway, who used a modified rabies virus to trace neuronal connections in the visual system, and E.J. Chichilnisky, whose work with multi-electrode arrays is leading to the development of artificial retinas to restore vision.


During Salk's inaugural Walk for Salk on April 13, Sejnowski's Computational Neurobiology Laboratory dubbed themselves the "Marching Neurons." Sejnowski has called the BRAIN initiative "The Million Neuron March." 


"Many of the most devastating human brain disorders, such as depression and schizophrenia, only seem to emerge when large-scale assemblies of neurons are involved," says Sejnowski. "Other terrible conditions, such as blindness and paralysis, result from disruptions in circuit connections. The more precise our information about specific circuits, the more we will understand what went wrong, where it went wrong, and how to target therapies."  Read more>> 


Salk Institute key player in Obama's BRAIN initiative
Fox5 San Diego 

Step into Discovery 

We're elated that Step into Discovery Day exceeded our expectations! The Walk for Salk was a huge success----we surpassed our Walk fundraising goal by almost $10,000! Despite a bit of gray weather, 700 walkers completed the route, and close to 800 visitors toured our campus. They enjoyed the offerings of our vendors and asked terrific questions at our Dynamic Brain, Healthy Aging, Cancer and Genomic Medicine booths. Our Education Outreach Program gave children the opportunity to plant seeds, draw brains and make double helixes out of pipe cleaners. 


Among those who contributed their time and money were a unique group of volunteers, whose dedication to the Institute dates almost to its beginning as members of WASI, The Women's Association for the Salk Institute (later called Salk Institute Association). They've been a part of the Salk Institute family for years, and as we launch an event that will be part of our future, we thank them for their continuing support.


Walk for Salk   

Finally, we want to especially thank our scientists, many of whom stayed long past their allotted time slots to answer questions from rapt visitors. A special shout-out to Tom Albright, who remained after his lecture on Dynamic Brain to respond to enthusiastic audience members for nearly 90 minutes!


The Salk Institute was originally funded by the March of Dimes, so it was tremendously gratifying that the walk took place the day after the 58th anniversary of the public announcement of Jonas Salk's polio virus vaccine. We maintain our connection to survivors of this devastating disease in our online community Polio Today, which we invite you to read as a tribute to them. Every day, their optimism and tenacity inspires our work.

Science News 


Fred Gage's discovery of how the brain keeps track of similar but distinct memories captured significant attention. These findings may help unravel the way the brain tracks minute changes in our everyday environments, a process known as pattern separation. Read more>> 


The Brainy Science of Finding Your Car Keys

 Yahoo News  


A recent study from Tom Albright's lab aims to answer: If the visual system has limited resources, how can it use them most efficiently? Read more>> 


Despite what you may think, your brain is a mathematical genius




The March issue of Inside Salk is now available. In addition to our cover story, which gives all the details on our Campaign for Salk, you'll find an inspiring profile on one of our most energetic young scientists, as well as stories on our latest research and events.



You're welcome to enjoy Inside Salk online. Print copies are available as a membership benefit for our contributors.


Click here to read our current issue>> 





Faculty Promotions  

John Reynolds has been promoted to full professor and Clodagh O'Shea and Tatyana Sharpee were made associate professors in the latest round of faculty reviews, after undergoing an extensive review process by Salk senior faculty, non-resident fellows, and scientific peers.


"It is especially gratifying to be able to award these promotions to such an excellent group of scientists," said President Bill Brody. "This is well deserved acknowledgment of all they have accomplished as scientific leaders and innovative researchers in their respective fields. On behalf of the Salk community, I extend to each of them our congratulations." Read more>>


Sydney Brenner, Roger Guillemin, Tony Hunter and Geoffrey M. Wahl, as well as Salk non-resident fellows David Baltimore and Elizabeth H. Blackburn, were inducted into the first class of fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research Academy (AACR), which was created to recognize researchers whose scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. The AACR, the world's first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research honored the inaugural class of 106 individuals at a special ceremony on April 5, 2013, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.  Read more>> 


Question of the Month

First, we learned that these cells do, in fact, regenerate. This effectively debunked a long-held belief that we are only born with a certain amount of these cells and generate no more during our lives. Now, Salk is focusing on discovering what else these special cells are capable of.  What are they?


Portraits of the Mind

Bonus: The bright pink is a virus that has been used to illuminate something special about these cells in relation to their neighbors. What does it help us see?


Post your answer to our Facebook page: http://facebook.com/salkinstitute or email us at newsletter@salk.edu.  


One randomly chosen winner from the entries with the correct answer will win a special momento of Salk merchandise. (Your choice of a t-shirt or hat.) 


Thank you to everyone who participated in last month's question of the month! The winner was Jagdeep Kaur-Bala from the University of Oregon. He correctly identified "Photograph 51", the X-ray diffraction image of DNA taken by Rosalind Franklin, of King's College London. Unlike her pioneering peers, Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, she did not receive the Nobel prize because she had passed away and the award cannot be given posthumously. 

Issue: 3 
Dynamic Brain Initiative
Step into Discovery
Science News
Question of the Month

Upcoming Events



San Diego Salkexcellerators Reception

with Fred "Rusty" Gage
May 15, 2013
6:00 pm



41st Annual Tax Seminar for Private Foundations

May 15-17, 2013




Save the Date!
Symphony at Salk
August 24, 2013







Salk Courtyard

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