One injection stops diabetes in its tracks
A discovery by Salk scientists, published in the journal Nature, could lead to a treatment that reverses symptoms of type 2 diabetes without side effects. According to the study, a single injection of the protein FGF1 in mice with diet-induced diabetes----- the equivalent of type 2 diabetes in humans----- returns blood sugar levels to a healthy range for more than two days.


"Controlling glucose is a dominant problem in our society," says Ronald M. Evans, director of Salk's Gene Expression Laboratory and corresponding author of the paper. "And FGF1 offers a new method to control glucose in a powerful and unexpected way."


New gene discovered that stops the spread of
deadly cancer

Scientists at Salk have identified a gene responsible for stopping the movement of cancer from the lungs to other parts of the body, indicating a new way to fight one of the world's deadliest cancers. The work is detailed in Molecular Cell.


"Lung cancer, even when it's discovered early, is often able to metastasize almost immediately and take hold throughout the body," says Reuben J. Shaw, professor in Salk's Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute early career scientist. "The reason behind why some tumors do that and others don't has not been very well understood. Now, through this work, we are beginning to understand why some subsets of lung cancer are so invasive."

Some stem cell methods closer to "gold standard" than others
Joseph R. Ecker


Researchers at the Salk Institute, with collaborators from Oregon Health and Science University and the University of California, San Diego have shown, for the first time, that stem cells created using two different methods are far from identical. The finding could lead to improved avenues for developing stem cell therapies as well as a better understanding of the basic biology of stem cells.

"These cells created using eggs' cytoplasm have fewer reprogramming issues, fewer alterations in gene expression levels and are closer to real embryonic stem cells," says co-senior author Joseph R. Ecker, professor and director of Salk's Genomic Analysis Laboratory and co-director of the Center of Excellence for Stem Cell Genomics. The results of the study were published recently in Nature

Study finds no extra mutations in modified stem cells
From left: Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, Keiichiro Suzuki and Mo Li of the Gene Expression Laboratory


The ability to switch out one gene for another in a line of living stem cells has only crossed from science fiction to reality within this decade. As with any new technology, it brings with it both promise----- the hope of fixing disease-causing genes in humans, for example----- as well as questions and safety concerns. Now, Salk scientists have put one of those concerns to rest: using gene-editing techniques on stem cells doesn't increase the overall occurrence of mutations in the cells. The new results were published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.


"The ability to precisely modify the DNA of stem cells has greatly accelerated research on human diseases and cell therapy," says senior author  Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, professor in Salk's Gene Expression Laboratory. "To successfully translate this technology into the clinic, we first need to scrutinize the safety of these modified stem cells, such as their genome stability and mutational load."

We are pleased to welcome new scientists to Salk! Alan Saghatelian, whose appointment was announced last fall, joined the Institute in July as a professor in the Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology. Kenta Asahina will join the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory as an assistant professor, Diana Hargreaves will be an assistant professor in the Cancer Research Center, Saket Navlakha joins the Salk Center for Integrative Biology as an assistant professor and Dmitry Lyumkis is the first appointment in the new Salk Fellows Program.

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Symphony at Salk tickets on sale now!

Tickets are on sale now for Salk Institute's 19th Annual Symphony at Salk,

taking place on Saturday, August 23. This annual musical affair features the San Diego Symphony along with Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe-nominated star Matthew Morrison.


Morrison, who stars in the television program "Glee," has appeared in numerous Broadway productions including "Footloose" and "Hairspray." Guest conductor, Maestro Thomas Wilkins will return to lead the Symphony for the tenth consecutive year. Purchase tickets online at For information, call (858) 597-0657. 

Pedal The Cause Forum Wednesday, July 23


Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute - Chairman's Hall

Cocktails 5:00 p.m.

Presentation 6:00 p.m.

From bench top to bedside, the journey of transforming breakthrough cancer research into life saving treatment will be explained in a TED-like talk given by scientists from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and Pfizer Oncology Research. The roles of basic science institutes such as Salk and Sanford-Burnham will also be covered.


To learn more and to RSVP, visit

Salk Women & Science
Wednesday, July 23

Salk Women & Science will host a forum on Wednesday, July 23 hosted by Professor Ursula Bellugi and featuring Carol Marchetto, a Senior Staff Scientist in the Laboratory of Professor Fred Gage. Marchetto studies the behavior of different subtypes of human neurons in neurodegenerative/neurodevelopmental diseases such as Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS) and Autism Spectrum Disorders.  For more information, contact Betsy Reis at (858) 500-4883 or

Upcoming Events

Salk Women & Science
July 23, 2014 


Symphony at Salk 

Featuring the San Diego Symphony and guest artist Matthew Morrison 

August 23, 2014   


Pedal The Cause 

September 20 & 21, 2014 


Science image downloads


A new study from the Belmonte Lab shows that gene-editing technologies are specific to their targets and do not introduce harmful mutations, clearing the way for the development of safe therapies in the clinic. The left panel shows misshapen nuclear envelopes (red) from induced pluripotent stem cells derived from cells with Parkinson's disease (DNA in blue). The right panel shows similarly induced cells that have been gene-edited to restore the cells.


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