Salk Institute where cures begin.
Errant gene turns cells into mobile cancer factories
From left: Christopher Dravis and Geoff Wahl
Geoff Wahl's lab has detailed a key molecular mechanism that underlies deadly behavior in hard-to-treat breast cancer. Some cancers contain stem-like cells that can act like mini factories to rapidly churn out copies. Worse still, these stem cell-like cancers can spread to other tissues in the body. The Wahl lab showed how a single master gene, called Sox10, controls if----and to what extent----cells turn into these potentially dangerous factories. This new understanding, detailed in Cell Reports, could point the way to more efficient therapies for drug-resistant cancers.

Geoff Wahl

The San Diego Union-Tribune profile: Wahl was also featured in an in-depth profile in the paper's business section. Read here
Science News
Scientists see motor neurons 'walking' in real time
View Video

Sam Pfaff's lab developed a new technique that lets researchers watch----for the first time----the activity of motor neurons in the spinal cord. The new technology lets scientists trace how cells in the spinal cord synchronize many neurons at once to allow complex movements. It also shows how clinicians might be able to repair those connections in patients with spinal cord injuries or neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as explained
in Neuron.

Different organs age differently
Martin Hetzer

Aging is typically thought of as the gradual decline of the whole body, but new research shows that age affects organs in strikingly different ways. Martin Hetzer and colleagues provide the first comprehensive view of how cellular proteins age in different organs, revealing major differences between the liver and brain in young and old rats. The findings, published in Cell Systems, suggest that how an organ ages may depend on its unique cellular properties and its physiological function in the body.

PRESS RELEASE: Not all organs age alike

The DNA damage response goes viral: a way in for new
Clodagh O'Shea and Govind Shah
cancer treatments

Clodagh O'Shea's lab reveals critical details into how cells manage two perpetual threats: DNA damage and replication of viral DNA within the cell. The discovery, detailed in Cell, could help in the development of new cancer-selective viral therapies and may help explain why aging and certain diseases seem to open the door to viral infections.


Using sound waves to control brain cells

Shrek Chalasani and colleagues developed a way to control the brains and behavior of worms using sound waves. In what looks like the first time, researchers have been able to use ultrasound to non-invasively activate select neurons in genetically modified nematodes. This technique, outlined in Nature Communications, could become an important tool for research and therapies for diseases such as Parkinson's.

SELECT MEDIA COVERAGE: Forbes, The GuardianNature News, Motherboard,  Yahoo News!

Thomas D. Albright
DOJ appoints Albright

Salk neuroscientist Thomas Albright has been appointed to the National Commission on Forensic Science by the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Albright is among six appointees tasked with developing policy recommendations for the Attorney General to enhance the practice and improve the reliability of forensic science. Albright was selected for the commission for his expertise on how the brain processes vision and stores memories. He will serve a two-year term.

Three Salk faculty awarded chairs

Salk scientists Ursula Bellugi, John Reynolds and Alan Saghatelian were recognized before colleagues, friends and supporters as new chair holders at the Salk Board of Trustees reception on August 27. Bellugi became the inaugural recipient of the Salk Founders' Chair. Reynolds became the first holder of the Fiona and Sanjay Jha Chair
in Neuroscience, and Saghatelian is the recipient of the rededicated Dr. Frederik
Paulsen Chair.

Ursula Bellugi
Ursula Bellugi
John Reynolds
John Reynolds

Alan Saghatellian

Other News
Edwin K. Hunter
Salk supporter Edwin Hunter appointed to Institute board of trustees

Edwin K. Hunter, a longtime supporter of Salk Institute and president of Hunter, Hunter & Sonnier, LLC was elected to the Salk Board of Trustees August 28. "Edwin's expertise in tax law, estate planning and philanthropy make him a valuable asset to our board," says Salk Board Chairman Irwin M. Jacobs. "He comes into this role with a great deal of familiarity with the Institute having served as chairman of Salk's yearly Tax Seminar for the past five years, and establishing the Edwin K. Hunter Chair in Molecular Biology in 2013." Mr. Hunter currently practices law in Louisiana and is a member of the Louisiana, Texas and District of Columbia bars. As a Board Certified Tax Attorney, he conducts talks on tax law, estate planning and philanthropy, and is a published author on these topics.

Seeds of Change
Read the latest issue of Inside Salk
Learn how groundbreaking plant research can help improve our lives and read the latest updates in cancer, diabetes and more in our latest issue of Inside Salk!

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Join us for the Salk Science & Music Series on these selected Sunday afternoons as we continue our mission to benefit mankind through discovery and inspiration. You will leave both elevated and energized.

Each of the six concerts in the series features stunning performances by both established and emerging classical and jazz musicians, as well riveting talks about the latest scientific discoveries by Salk scientists.
  • October 11, 2015 - Vadym Kholodenko (piano) with Tony Hunter
  • November 8, 2015 - Victor Stanislavsky (piano) and Asi Matathias (violin) with
  • January 24, 2016 - Victor Goines Jazz Quartet with Sreekanth Chalasani
  • February 21, 2016 - Cicely Parnas (cello) and Noreen Polera (piano) with
  • March 20, 2016 - Julia Bullock (soprano) and Renate Rohlfing (piano) with
  • April 24, 2016 - Sean Chen and Karen Joy Davis (duo piano) with Julie Law
Symphony scenes

A hot summer evening combined with even hotter jazz by Chris Botti and John Pizzarelli, along with the supreme San Diego Symphony, made the 20th annual Symphony at Salk one for the memory books. Thank you to all whose support made this magical concert under the stars a reality.

View Symphony at Salk photo galleries:

Salk science images for your desktop, tablet or smartphone

A mammary gland organoid (a miniature version of the mammary gland grown in a dish) contains cells that possess high levels of the gene Sox10 (blue). Sox10 corresponds to higher levels of stem-like plasticity, which give these cells the ability to churn out many cell types as well as the power to migrate. In cancerous cells, these features lead to metastasis and drug resistance. Two types of proteins (cytokeratin-14, red, and cytokeratin-8, green) indicate distinct types of cells generated in this organoid from a single mammary cell expressing Sox10. - Courtesy of the Wahl lab 

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