February 20, 2014
Salk Institute and Stanford University to lead new $40 million stem cell genomics center


The Salk Institute will join Stanford University in leading a new Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Genomics, created through a $40 million award by California's stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.


The center will bring together experts and investigators from seven major California institutions to focus on bridging the fields of genomics----the study of the complete genetic make-up of a cell or organism----with cutting-edge stem cell research.


The goal is to use these tools to gain a deeper understanding of the disease processes in cancer, diabetes, endocrine disorders, heart disease and mental health, and ultimately to find safer and more effective ways of using stem cells in medical research and therapy.


"The center will provide a platform for collaboration, allowing California's stem cell scientists and genomics researchers to bridge these two fields," says Salk professor Joseph Ecker, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator. Also holder of the Salk International Council Chair in Genetics, Ecker will co-direct the new center along with Michael Snyder, a professor and chair of genetics at Stanford.


Salk and Stanford will lead the center, and U.C. San Diego, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the Scripps Research Institute, the J. Craig Venter Institute and Illumina Inc., all in San Diego, will collaborate on the project, in addition to Howard Hughes Medical Institute and U.C. Santa Cruz, which will also run the data coordination and management component. 



According to Ecker, "The Center will generate critical genomics data that will be shared with scientists throughout California and the rest of the world."

Almost Sold Out - Tickets on Sale!

Join us this weekend for:

Joe Locke and Geoffrey Keezer, the fourth performance in this amazing concert series will perform on February 23, 2014.
Tom Albright, Professor and Director of Salk's Vision Center Laboratory will be speaking.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the

website at:



Joe Locke and
Geoffrey Keezer
Tom Albright

Celebrating 90 Years of Creativity: Salk fetes Roger Guillemin


To mark the 90th birthday of Salk professor and Nobel laureate Roger Guillemin, who has dedicated his life to improving the human condition, the Salk Institute hosted a celebratory dinner and symposium in January that drew people from all across the country.


The festivities began on January 12 (one day after Guillemin's actual birthday) with a gathering of 175 friends and family in the specially decorated Salk foyer. All six children of Guillemin and his wife, Lucienne, were present, as were a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The following day, over 200 people arrived on the Salk campus from as far away as Europe to take part in a symposium titled, "Hypothalamic factors: A trove for novel therapeutic and diagnostic applications." The scientists invited to speak represented successful new therapies that are based on Guillemin's original discovery of hypothalamic peptides, and they shared the ways in which his work over the years has greatly improved the understanding of how the brain and gastrointestinal tract respond to stressors. 

The Art and Science of Cuisine: Inaugural wellness event serves up delicious food and fascinating science

The idea that "we are what we eat" was the focus at Salk's Art and Science of Cuisine event on January 22. Chefs and scientists pooled their experience to inform a sold-out crowd of over 300 people eager to pursue more healthful lifestyles in 2014.


The evening began with a panel discussion that included chefs Nathan Coulon, Isabel Cruz, Joy Houston, Michelle Lerach and Denise Roa. Adding a scientific perspective were Salk researchers

Ronald Evans and Geoffrey Wahl, professors in the Gene Expression Laboratory, and Reuben Shaw, associate professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory. Deborah Szekely, cofounder of renowned spas Rancho La Puerta and Golden Door, served as moderator.


One cause of rising obesity, argued the chefs, is the all-too-easy availability of prepared foods. And ingesting so much processed food, usually high in calories and fat content, has serious health consequences, added the scientists. Obesity leads to inflammation, they warned, and inflammation has been linked to many diseases-heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer. All of the panel members emphasized that fresh vegetables and fruits should be at the core of a proper diet.


To prove that a plant-based diet can be appealing, the chefs set up tasting stations and invited the crowd to sample and ask questions. Curious diners sampled the fare before departing with new information and new resolve to live more healthfully.


Upcoming Events Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Suzanne Bourgeois will discuss her recently published book, Genesis of the Salk Institute: The Epic of Its Founders, which is a personal account of the origins and early years of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She was personally involved with the Institute from its inception and drew on archives and interviews to inform this narrative. Dr. Bourgeois is Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute. She will share stories about the people who founded the Institute, their courage, visions and clashes.


A limited number of books will be available for purchase during the reception.


Click here to RSVP»

On April 12, 2014 the Salk Institute will open its doors for the second annual Step into Discovery event. Last year's inaugural event was a resounding success that drew over a thousand participants to the campus.


The community is invited to partake in the fun with the Walk for Salk, a panoramic 5K, along a scenic Torrey Pines route.


After the walk, visitors will enjoy the Explore Salk programs that offer exclusive, behind-the-scenes tours of the very labs where tomorrow's cures are being developed. Salk scientists, some of the most highly acclaimed researchers in the world, will be on hand to discuss up-to-the minute discoveries and answer questions. The courtyard will be filled with many informational booths and hands-on activities for children and adults, including presentations by the Salk Education Outreach program.


Click here to register for 5K Walk for Salk» 

Click here to sign up for the exclusive behind-the-scenes lab tours»  

Question of the Month


Joe Ecker, who will be a co-director of the new Salk-Stanford stem cell genomics center, discovered that one of our organs exhibits a unique epigenetic code during development. What organ was he studying?


Post your answer to our Facebook page:


or email us at



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

Architectural Tour Guides

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is acclaimed by architectural critics as one of the world's boldest structures. The Institute is seeking volunteer tour guides to lead architectural tours. Salk offers a free weekday tour at noon to the public. Tour registration is required; tour size is limited to 20 participants. Knowledge of architecture preferred. Tour guides are asked to participant once a week and training is provided on an individual basis. To apply, please email letter of interest to Judy Hodges at hodges@salk.edu.
Science Images 

Endothelial cells derived by indirect lineage conversion from human fibroblasts (skin cells). Cell nuclei are in blue; proteins that are hallmarks of endothelial cells are green and red.

Image: Courtesy of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies


Scientific discovery at the Salk Institute is made possible through annual contributions from individuals, organizations, corporations and foundations. Your support will accelerate the pace of breakthroughs in understanding disease and pave the way to new drug therapies.

Donate Now 
Salk Central  

Looking for previous issues of Salk Central?  View the archives here»
Issue: 12    

Upcoming Events



Salk Science and Music Series


February 23, 2014

March 16, 2014 




San Diego Salkexcellerators


February 26, 2014

March 26, 2014 




Women & Science Reception


March 5, 2014



Back to Basics 


March 25, 2014 




Second Annual

Step into Discovery


April 12, 2014  












Salk Institute