Salk Institute Commemorates Jonas Salk

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With the centenary of Jonas Salk's birth drawing near, members of the Salk Institute's senior faculty have been reminiscing about the visionary scientist whose vaccine turned the tide on polio in 1955 and whose research facility continues to change medical history today.


Born on October 28, 1914, Salk would inspire and challenge his Institute colleagues as much in their scientific pursuits as in their worldviews. A series of videos capturing the remembrances of those privileged to know the man include professors Walter Eckhart, Ron Evans, Tony Hunter, Greg Lemke and Inder Verma, as well as Salk's eldest son, Peter Salk.


To view these legacy videos on the Jonas Salk 100 webpage, click here
Walter Eckhart
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Ron Evans
Ron Evans
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Tony Hunter
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Greg Lemke
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Inder Verma
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Peter Salk

Have you or a loved one been personally impacted by the legacy of Jonas Salk? If so, please share your memories of Dr. Salk. Select entries will be posted on the Jonas Salk 100 website .  Submit your memory here .

Vitamin D derivative helps fight pancreatic cancer

From Left: Ron Evans, Mira Sherman,
Ruth Yu, Ann Atkins, Tiffany Tseng and Michael Downes

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, a fact highlighted in recent years by the deaths of well-known figures such as Steve Jobs and
Patrick Swayze.


In recent work published in Cell, Ronald Evans and colleagues found that a synthetic derivative of vitamin D collapses the barrier of cells shielding pancreatic tumors, making this seemingly impenetrable cancer much more susceptible to therapeutic drugs. This exciting research has already advanced to human trials.

Cheers for two prestigious NIH wins at the Salk!

Margarita Behrens and Joseph Ecker

Joseph Ecker, professor, and Margarita Behrens, staff scientist, have been named recipients in the 2014 round of grants from the NIH through the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative for cutting-edge work in neuroscience. The grant provides more than $3 million in funding to the Salk scientists over three years.

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Hu Cang

Additionally, Salk scientists have scored a rare hat trick with a third assistant professor being named a recipient of the prestigious NIH Director's New Innovator Award. Congratulations to Hu Cang, who was awarded $1.5 million this year!

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This series of six concerts features stunning performances by some of the hottest established and emerging classical and jazz musicians, as well as riveting talks about the latest scientific discoveries by the Institute's world-renowned scientists.

Computational Neurobiology Laboratory

November 2, 2014


Sean Chen with
Laboratory of Genetics

February 22, 2015


Vision Center Laboratory

December 7, 2014


Gene Expression Laboratory

April 26, 2015


Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory

January 25, 2015

Regulatory Biology Laboratory

June 7, 2015

Buy tickets

Salk Science News
From left: Shili Chen, Alan Saghatelian and Tejia Zhang

Professor Alan Saghatelian's lab, along with collaborators at

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, have discovered a new class of molecules (produced in human and mouse fat) that protects against diabetes.

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Press release: Scientists discover a 'good' fat that
fights diabetes


Select media coverage: Daily ExpressDaily MailGlobal Post

Vicki Lundblad and Timothy Tucey

Professor  Vicki Lundblad's lab has discovered an on-and-off "switch" in cells that may hold the key to healthy aging. This switch points to a way to encourage healthy cells to keep dividing and generating, for example, new lung or liver tissue, even in old age.

Press release: Scientists discover an on/off switch for
aging cells

Select media coverage: R & D Magazine, GEN


Tom Albright

A National Academy of Sciences committee, of which Tom Albright, Director of Salk's Vision Center Laboratory, acts as co-chair, released the first comprehensive report on the unreliability of eye witness accounts.

Select media coverage: Time, Atlantic, USA Today

Your support makes it possible for Salk to recruit and retain top-tier
scientists, acquire the latest cutting-edge technology, and fuel innovative research initiatives, all of which provide extraordinary opportunities for
scientific discovery.

Upcoming Events

San Diego Salkexcellerators

October 22, 2014

Private reception and scientific presentation with Alan Saghatelian

President's Club Luncheon

December 4, 2014

For Information contact:

Megan Shockro at

Salk Science & Music Series
November 2, 2014

Salk Science & Music Series
December 7, 2014

Science image for download 

In the pancreatic tumor microenvironment, non-cancerous stromal cells (blue) impede the delivery and efficacy of chemotherapy.

Image courtesy: The Evans lab: Ron Evans, Mira Sherman, Ruth Yu, Ann Atkins, Tiffany Tseng and Michael Downes

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Copyright 2014.