Salk Central this month: June 2015
From left: Matthew Schultz, Yupeng He and Joseph Ecker
From left: Matthew Schultz, Yupeng He and Joseph Ecker
Salk scientists reveal epigenome maps of the human body's major organs


The lab of Salk Professor Joseph Ecker and his team have constructed the most comprehensive maps yet of chemical patterns called the epigenome in more than a dozen different human organs from individual donors (including a woman, man and child). This new atlas of human organ epigenomes, published June 1 in Nature, provides a starting place to understand the role of chemical markers in development, health and disease. 

Ecker and collaborators had an additional paper published June 17 in Neuron detailing the epigenome of the brain.

Salk News

Low glycemic index diet reduces symptoms of autism in mice


Pamela Maher
Pamela Maher
Pamela Maher on KUSI
View video from KUSI

New research from Pamela Maher, Senior Staff Scientist in David Schubert's lab showed that low glycemic index diets, similar to the plans that people with diabetes follow to keep their blood sugar in check, reduced symptoms in a mouse model of autism. The findings, published June 9 in Molecular Psychiatry, might offer clues to understanding one potential cause of autism.

Protein plays unexpected role in embryonic stem cells

From left: Martin Hetzer, Filipe Jacinto
From left: Martin Hetzer, Filipe Jacinto

Martin Hetzer's lab discovered that a protein long assumed to be important for only transporting materials in the cell also regulates gene expression and cell differentiation. The finding, published in Genes & Development, shows that the protein Nup153 in particular also has a dramatic role in neuronal growth.


PRESS RELEASE: A protein long believed to only guard the nucleus also regulates gene expression and stem cell development

Salk recruits human geneticist Graham McVicker

Graham McVicker
Graham McVicker
Expanding on its leadership in genetics, the Salk Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Graham McVicker as an assistant professor in the Center for Integrative Biology and in the Laboratory of Genetics. McVicker will join the Salk Institute in January 2016. He seeks to understand how human genetic variation affects molecular processes in the cell and contributes to disease. Read press release

Salk Institute Board of Trustees elects neuroscientist Thomas M. Jessell and business leader Daniel Tierney

Neuroscientist Thomas M. Jessell and business leader Daniel Tierney were recently appointed to the Salk Institute Board of Trustees. Dr. Jessell has been a Salk Institute Non-Resident Fellow since 2001. Mr. Tierney is the cofounder of GETCO (now KCG), one of the world's leading technology-enabled market makers and agency execution service providers. "Tom's understanding of Salk's mission and the importance of basic research, and Dan's outstanding record of entrepreneurial and business success, will help guide the Institute as we undertake new and important priorities," said Board Chairman Irwin Jacobs. Read press release

Salk Institute scientist Nicola Allen named Pew Scholar

Nicola Allen
Nicola Allen



Earlier this month, the Pew Charitable Trusts announced Salk assistant professor Nicola Allen is one of 22 researchers to be named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. She joins the ranks of more than 600 outstanding scientists who have been selected as Pew scholars in the 30 years since the program's inception. Allen investigates the role of brain cells called astrocytes, and how astrocytes control the formation and function of neuronal connections. This knowledge could help develop ways to repair damaged connections to improve cognition and memory. Allen is also investigating whether these properties of astrocytes may regulate the brain's ability to learn new tasks. Read press release


Excellerators Event images

Salkexcellerators concluded its season last month with a private dinner and scientific presentations at the Institute. Professor Greg Lemke and Assistant Professor Ye Zheng shared slides and spoke of their groundbreaking work on immune system function.


Salkexcellerators are community members in San Diego and New York who share a commitment to supporting scientific discovery at Salk. Members receive invitations to private receptions and scientific presentations on the most critical health-related issues of the 21st century. 


To learn more, contact: 
Megan Shockro
(858) 453-4100 x1405
science image with text
Upcoming Events

20th Symphony at Salk logo
Save the Date
Symphony at Salk

an unforgettable night of sizzling JAZZ
Special performances by Chris Botti and John Pizzarelli
Chris Botti & John Pizzarelli

Plan to join us for a sizzling performance on August 29th as the Salk Institute celebrates its 20th annual Symphony at Salk with famed trumpeter Chris Botti and guitarist John Pizzarelli joining the San Diego Symphony for an evening of incomparable jazz.

On the heels of its successful inaugural awards ceremony this spring, Salk Women & Science will break new ground again this summer with its first panel discussion featuring four young female Salk scientists. Postdoctoral researchers Emily Hatch and Zhuzhu Zhang will share the Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium stage with graduate students Christina Chang and Eunice Lau to discuss their work. Professor Emerita Catherine Rivier will host the event.


For more information on the July 22 event and the Salk Women & Science program, contact Betsy Reis, director of Donor Relations, at or (858) 453-4100 x1426.

From Left: Travis Berggrenand Tony Hunter
From Left: Travis Berggren
and Tony Hunter

Pedal the Cause, A world without cancer


Pedal the Cause San Diego is gearing up to support cancer research with PEDAL15, its third annual bike ride September 19-20. Registration is now open at


Participants can pick their level of support: ride, virtual ride, volunteer or donate to a favorite team, such as Team Salk! Cyclists can choose from four courses ranging from a 10-mile Sunday morning ride to a challenging 150-mile, two-day trek to Temecula and back. All courses start and finish on the UCSD campus in La Jolla.


Last year, Pedal the Cause San Diego raised $1 million for cancer research conducted at San Diego's three National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers-the Salk Institute, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.


Be Amazed and Inspired - Salk Science & Music Series

Join us for the third Salk Science & Music Series. Each of the six concerts in the series feature stunning performances by some of the hottest established and emerging musicians, as well riveting talks about the latest scientific discoveries by Salk scientists

  • October 11, 2015 - Vadym Kholodenko (piano)
  • November 8, 2015 - Victor Stanislavsky (piano) and Asi Matathias (violin) 
  • January 24, 2016 - Victor Goines Jazz Trio
  • February 21, 2016 - Cicely Parnas (cello) and Noreen Polera (piano)
  • March 20, 2016 - Julia Bullock (soprano) and Renate Rohlfing (piano)
  • April 24, 2016 - Giuseppe Mentuccia and Karen Joy Davis (duo piano)

Purchase tickets for the series*   

*Individual concert tickets will go on sale later this summer.

Salk architectural images for your desktop, tablet or smartphone

Decorate your devices with some of the most intriguing images from the Salk Institute! 

Dramatic Salk courtyard images
Salk Institute courtyard after a spring rain
---- Courtesy of Joe Belcovson

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