April 24, 2014

Second Annual Step Into Discovery Brings the Community to the Salk


On Saturday, April 12, the Salk Institute invited the San Diego community to the Salk where more than 1,100 people came out for a day of fun and learning at the Institute's second annual Step Into Discovery Day.


Approximately 600 walkers participated in the 5K Walk for Salk, arriving at 8 a.m. to pick up t-shirts and goodie bags and to enjoy a gluten-free breakfast from Escondido-based GNI Bakery. After the walk, visitors had the chance to visit science and sponsor booths. A steady stream of budding scientists filtered through the Kids Discovery Zone to learn more about the brain, plants, disease modeling and cancer. 


Visitors to campus were treated to talks by Jonas Salk's son, Dr. Peter Salk, and two of the Institute's faculty, Shrek Chalasani and Janelle Ayres. More than 500 people participated in the Explore Salk tours, getting a peek inside the Institute's laboratories and technology core facilities. In all, fifteen labs and three cores opened their doors to the tours.

Special thanks to all of the volunteers and staff who helped make Step into Discovery 2014 a fun and educational event for the community. Many thanks also to our sponsors, including our title sponsor Rudolph and Sletten, for helping to make the day a tremendous success.

Click here to donate to Step into Discovery which supports our cutting-edge research and continues our important education outreach efforts throughout San Diego.


Friends of Salk 



San Diego developer Donald Cohn elected to Salk Institute Board of Trustees

San Diego real estate developer and community builder Donald Cohn joined the Salk Institute Board of Trustees this month. Chairman of the Board, Irwin M. Jacobs, says, "Don is a successful businessman, philanthropist, and community volunteer. His longtime interest in basic research has led to his increasing involvement with the Salk Institute over the past several years. We are greatly pleased to have him join our Board of Trustees."

Mr. Cohn established his business career in San Diego in 1961. From that time through 1979, he was active in the development of over 3,000 residential units both as a builder and investor. He founded Data Quick Information Systems in 1980 where he served as CEO and managed its growth to become the largest real estate information provider in the United States until its sale to Acxiom Corporation in 1995.

Awards and Honors


Reuben Shaw

Vicki Lundblad

Janelle Ayres

Salk is pleased to announce a plethora of recent awards. Reuben Shaw, a member of the Salk Institute's Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute early career scientist, has been promoted from associate professor to full professor; Vicki Lundblad, professor of the Salk Institute's Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, has been awarded the Becky and Ralph S. O'Connor Chair and elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology; and Janelle Ayres, assistant professor at Salk Institute's Nomis Foundation Laboratories for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, has received the prestigious Searle Scholar award.


Congratulations also to two distinguished faculty inducted into the  2014 class of elected fellows of the American Association for Cancer Research: Ron Evans, professor and director of the Gene Expression Laboratory, March of Dimes chair in molecular and developmental biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Inder Verma, Irwin and Joan Jacobs chair in exemplary life science and American Cancer Society professor of molecular biology.


Congratulations to all of our talented scientists!

Salk Science in the News


Salk scientists have published a number of important discoveries recently, many of which have been spotlighted in the news.


From the lab of Inder Verma, first author Amy Firth published on a new way to grow complex lung tissue for modeling diseases like asthma and lung cancer.
Read more»    


Lab turns skin cells into human airway tissue 

Bioscience Technology


Additionally from Verma's lab, first author Gerald Pao and colleagues published evidence showing that the normal version of the gene BRCA1, whose mutation is tied to cancer, is crucial for early brain development.
Read more»   


BRCA1 linked to brain size 
The Scientist

Scientists reveal potential link between brain development and breast cancer gene
Medical Xpress 


Terrence Sejnowski and first author Cian O'Donnell also published a paper on a new computational model of memory that is getting wide attention.
Read more» 


Scientists model how memories stick together
Sleep Review Magazine

Scientists explain how memories stick together
Science Codex 


Axel Nimmerjahn collaborated with University of California Irvine on new work that reveals, for the first time, how a protein transfer system breakdown causes blood to leak into the brain immediately after a stroke.
Read more»


New cause of brain bleeding immediately after stroke identified
Science Daily

Study IDs new cause of brain bleeding immediately after stroke
Science Codex  


Other Salk News


Fei-Fei Dong
Clodagh O'Shea


Final performance in the Salk Music & Science series, May 18


Don't miss a performance by Chinese pianist Fei-Fei Dong on Sunday, May 18. This is the last performance in our six part Salk Science & Music series. Ms. Dong was one of the top six finalists at the 2013 Cliburn Competition. The Dallas Morning News describes her as having, "passion, piquancy, tenderness" and "a winning stage presence".


The evening will also feature Salk Associate Professor Clodagh O'Shea who will discuss the latest advancements in her Molecular and Cell Biology lab.


For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the web site at: http://music.salk.edu/. 

New Issue of Inside Salk 



Our next edition of Inside Salk will be making its way to your mailbox very soon! In this latest issue, the cover story is titled Cancer in the Crosshairs, which introduces the diverse, yet complementary, work of some of our leading cancer researchers.



It also includes an interview with

Geoff Wahl, a professor in Salk's Gene Expression Laboratory and holder of the Daniel and Martina Lewis Chair who has devoted his life to studying the disease with a special focus on breast cancer. Our Next Generation article and video shines a spotlight on postdoc Ignacio Sancho-Martinez whose wide-ranging interests freely cross boundaries.   


View the video» 


Interested in getting on our mailing list to receive the print version of Inside Salk? 

Sign up here» 

Science Images



The images show an early developmental stage of normal (top row) and BRCA1-deficient brains (bottom row). The imaged embryos show abundant proliferation of cell growth (red, first column) in both normal and BRCA1-deficient brains at this stage. However brains lacking BRCA1 exhibit high levels of cellular suicide (green, second column). The third column shows an overlay of the other columns.


Click here to get a background image for your phone, facebook page or computer desktop. 


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 

Looking for previous issues of Salk Central?  View the archives here»
Issue: 14     

Upcoming Events



42nd Annual Tax Seminar for Private Foundations


May 14-16, 2014  




Salk Science and Music Series


May 18, 2014





Reception and Presentation


May 29, 2014  




Symphony at Salk


August 23, 2014

Save the Date 


Ongoing Events 


Guided Architectural Tours


Monday through Friday 11:45 a.m.











Salk Institute