March 21, 2014

Salk Opens its Doors for March of Dimes High School Science Day


On March 1, the Salk Institute invited more than 200 local students from two dozen high schools to get a rare glimpse inside the labs and even assist with experiments.


Salk's annual March of Dimes High School Science Day kicked off with an encouraging talk on observation and curiosity from Salk President William Brody; a talk by Dick Freeman, Former Chairman of the March of Dimes; an inspiring presentation from a former Salk High School Scholar; and a welcome from Salk Education Outreach Director Ellen Potter and Education Specialist Dona Mapston. The day was dedicated to the memory of event sponsor and former Salk Board Member Charlie Robins.


After the opening remarks, students took two one-hour lab tours, exploring topics ranging from genomics and inflammation to stem cells and neurobiology. Groups prepared slides, peered at cells through microscopes, learned how to extract DNA, and much more as they chatted with Salk researchers and learned about how day-to-day science is conducted.


The day ended with a networking lunch for the students and an engaging presentation on the neurobiology of fear from "Shrek" Chalasani that elicited both gasps and giggles from the students, as well as many questions. During lunch, the foyer and courtyard buzzed with students swapping stories of what they had learned and their future plans to study science.


 Michael Pollan talks at the Salk Institute



New York Times bestseller and science journalist Michael Pollan spoke on Thursday, March 13, to a packed auditorium about the history, culture and science of agriculture and plants. In a Q&A-style interview hosted by Salk professor and March of Dimes Chair in Developmental and Molecular Biology Ron Evans, Pollan spoke eloquently on the state of food in America and how what we choose to eat affects our health and environment. He detailed his personal foray into gardening his own food and how his research dramatically influenced his personal eating habits.


The audience listened to Pollan weave together a fascinating narrative of food movements, deftly incorporating economic, historic, scientific, political and cultural aspects into explanations of the development of food and agriculture. He discussed how humans, as the only "cooking apes," have historically processed food, first to our advantage (fermenting and cooking) and sometimes to our detriment (substituting refined flour, sugars and artificial enhancements).


Afterwards, Pollan answered questions ranging from environmental solutions for the growing food crisis to challenges for organic farmers. The event wrapped up as guests mingled for hors d'oeuvres, discussing their own food habits.


On April 12, 2014 the Salk Institute will open its doors for the second annual Step into Discovery event. This date is especially significant. On April 12, 1955, Jonas Salk announced the discovery of the polio vaccine, forever transforming lives around the world. 


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 the latest discoveries and to 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»  

Upcoming Events Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Salk Frederic de Hoffmann Auditiorium

Suzanne Bourgeois appeared on KPBS Midday and Evening Editions on February 20 to discuss her recently published book, Genesis of the Salk Institute: The Epic of Its Founders. Recordings of both shows are published on the KPBS website. Suzanne will present on the book and her deep knowledge of the Institute's history as part of Salk's Back to Basics lecture series on March 25, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.


Click here to RSVP»

Question of the Month


Salk Institute has how many separate educational outreach programs?


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. Knowledge of architecture preferred. Tour guides are asked to participate once a week and training is provided on an individual basis. To apply, please email a letter of interest to Judy Hodges at 

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.

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Salk Central  

Looking for previous issues of Salk Central?  View the archives here»
Issue: 13     

Upcoming Events

Back to Basics 


March 25, 2014 




Second Annual

Step into Discovery


April 12, 2014  





Salk Science and Music Series


May 18, 2014






Reception and presentation


May 21, 2014  





Symphony at Salk


August 23, 2014

Save the Date 










Salk Institute