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April 2016
Brain guardians remove dying neurons
Lemke TAM video
Greg Lemke and Lawrence Fourgeaud
Greg Lemke's lab showed how immune receptors clear away a surprising number of dead and dysfunctional brain cells. The team identified specific cellular switches key to this process. The work, published in Nature, indicates new targets for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease.
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Salk scientists find "secret sauce" for personalized, functional insulin-producing cells

The lab of Ronald Evans solved a longstanding problem in the effort to create replacement cells for diabetic patients. The team uncovered a hidden cellular energy switch that, when flipped, powers up pancreatic cells to respond to glucose, a step that eluded previous research. The result is hundreds of millions of lab-produced human beta cells that can detect sugar and release insulin.
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TSRI_ Salk scientists discover _outlier_ enzymes
From left: Matthew Kolar, Siddhesh Kama, Enrique Saez, Armand Cognetta, Alan Saghatelian and William Parsons
Salk and TSRI scientists discover 'outlier' enzymes that could offer new targets to treat diabetes and inflammation

A team led by Alan Saghatelian and colleagues at The Scripps Research Institute discovered two enzymes that appear to play a role in metabolism and inflammation----and might someday be targeted with drugs to treat type 2 diabetes and inflammatory disorders.
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Improved brain mapping tool 20 times more powerful than previous version

Edward Callaway's team developed a way to efficiently 
trace the brain's complex network of connections. This tool improves upon a technique called rabies virus tracing, which was originally developed in the Callaway lab and is commonly used to map neural 
circuitsSuch a dramatic improvement in a critical tool for neuroscience will help researchers illuminate aspects of brain disorders where connectivity and global processing goes awry, such as in autism and schizophrenia.
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Salk recruits award-winning neurobiologist Eiman Azim

The Salk Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Eiman Azim as an assistant professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory. Hailing from Columbia University Medical Center, Azim decodes the fundamental circuitry for complex behavior and explores how the brain controls its incredibly diverse repertoire of movements. His research aims to provide a deeper understanding of human motor function and dysfunction, providing the groundwork for developing novel treatments for motor disorders.
Congratulations Special Awards recipients_
From left:  Mako Yamamoto, Nausica Arnoult, Amandine Chaix, Ursula Bellugi, Elizabeth Blackburn, Wei-Mien Hsu, Liang Song
Women & Science: Congratulations Special Awards recipients!

The second annual Salk Women & Science Special Awards Initiative ceremony honored five female Salk researchers and recognized Larry and Carol Greenfield, who created a matching gift challenge to help fund the researchers' high-risk projects. More than 200 people attended the March 30 event, which included an exclusive Q&A session with new Salk President Elizabeth Blackburn in the Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium.
This year's award recipients are research associates Nausica Arnoult, Amandine Chaix, Wei-Mien Hsu, Liang Song and Mako Yamamoto. The Greenfield Stepping Stones Challenge continues through June 30, 2016 and provides a dollar-for-dollar match for every gift up to $54,000 to Salk Women & Science.
Salk Institute medal recipients
From left:  Elizabeth Blackburn, Solomon Snyder, Robert Weinberg and Tony Hunter
Salk Medal recipients honored

For the first time, the Salk Institute bestowed its Medal for Research Excellence on not one, but two, distinguished scientists, during an awards dinner on April 13.
Robert Weinberg, a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was chosen by Salk's faculty medal committee for his internationally recognized, lifelong work on the genetics of human cancer. Solomon Snyder, Distinguished Service Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, was selected for his transformative research on neuropharmacology.
Featuring a design by Paloma Picasso, the medal was created to award an individual who has made significant contributions in the area of basic science research with particular impact on science policy, humanities, the Institute or human health. 

Robert A. Weinberg, PhD
EMT, Cancer Stem Cells and the Mechanisms of Malignant Progression
Solomon H. Snyder, MD
Novel Neural Messengers
A day of science exploration at 4th Annual Explore Salk
Over 1,700 Salk Institute enthusiasts turned out for a day of scientific discovery at the fourth annual Explore Salk on April 16. The Kids' Discovery Zone kept the young ones busy with DNA extractions and microscopes. One of the most popular activities of the day was the lab tours. With 54 tours in all, visitors had a chance to go inside a lab and learn about some of the life-changing research being done at Salk.

Salk scientists were also on hand to share their latest discoveries. Topics in the science booths ranged from "Discoveries for Health" to "Demystifying the Brain." Associate Professor Satchidananda Panda gave a science talk to a packed auditorium titled, Healthy Life Around the Clock: One Click at a Time. Concluding the day on a high note was a talk by new Salk President Elizabeth Blackburn, whose talk was titled Don't Cell Yourself Short.

Special thanks to all of the volunteers and staff who helped make Explore Salk a fun and educational event for the community. Many thanks to our title sponsor Waxie, as well as Kaiser Permanente, Neyenesch, Novartis and the San Diego County Credit Union.

Join us for Breakthrough Biomedical Philanthropy
Visionary Philanthropy

Science and philanthropy thought leaders from around the country will share insights and tools to philanthropists and foundations interested in leveraging their giving during the Salk Institute's inaugural summit "Breakthrough Biomedical Philanthropy" on May 12 and 13.

Session topics will include:
  • Moonshots and Dream Teams
  • Public/Private Partnerships
  • Strategic Philanthropy
  • Tax Strategy
  • Impact Investing
The roster of notable speakers includes Elizabeth Blackburn, president of the Salk Institute; Miyoung Chun, executive vice president of Scientific Programs at the Kavli Foundation; Andrew Keller, president and CEO of Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute; Mark Collins, president of the Glenn Foundation; and Stephanie Lederman, executive director of the American Foundation for Aging Research.
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Symphony countdown
Have you marked your calendar yet for August 20? In just four short months, the 21st annual Symphony at Salk will take place on the Institute's courtyard stage. You won't want to miss this summertime tradition under the stars with Maestro Thomas Wilkins conducting the incomparable San Diego Symphony. Tickets go on sale----and the identity of the guest artist will be revealed----in early July. 
Hot off the presses

Sporting a fresh look and feel, the spring issue of Inside Salk has landed and will start showing up in mailboxes within the next few days. Don't miss the Q& A with new Salk President Elizabeth Blackburn or the Next Gen feature on Zachary Katz, a research associate in Bjorn Lillemeier's lab.

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


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Courtesy of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Salk science

Download some amazing Salk science images for your smartphone, tablet or desktop. 

Scientists in the Ronald Evans' laboratory have created successful patient-derived pancreatic beta cells able to respond to glucagon (red) and produce insulin (green) accordingly. These cells (nuclei, blue) could be transplanted back into patients for a potential new diabetes therapy.

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Salk Institute | 10010 N Torrey Pines Rd | La Jolla | CA | 92037