Salk Institute for Biological Studies

The Salk Institute was established in the 1960s by Jonas Salk, M.D., the developer of the polio vaccine.

Today the major areas of study at Salk are: molecular biology and genetics, neurosciences, and plant biology. Salk research provides new understanding and potential new therapies and treatments for a range of diseases—from cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer's disease, to cardiovascular disorders, anomalies of the brain and birth defects.

Terrence J. Sejnowski, PhD – UCSD/Salk

Professor of Biological Sciences at UCSD and Head ofComputational Neurobiology Laboratory (CNL) at Salk Institute
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Member of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director

Sejnowski is interested in the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex, which holds our knowledge of the world and how to interact with it. Sejnowski's team uses sophisticated electrical and chemical monitoring techniques to measure changes that occur in the connections among nerve cells in the hippocampus during a simple form of learning.

Joseph R. Ecker, PHD – Salk

Professor Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator
Salk International Council Chair in Genetics
Director, Ecker Lab

Ecker is one of the nation's leading authorities on the molecular biology and genetics of plants. He is interested in understanding the roles of genetic and 'epigenetic' processes in cell growth and development thereby understanding the complexity of gene regulatory processes that underlie development and disease in plants and humans.

Ecker Lab – Salk

Principal Investigator: Joseph R Ecker
Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Being able to study the epigenome in great detail and in its entirety will provide a better understanding of plant productivity and stress resistance, the dynamics of the human genome, stem cells’ capacity to self-renew and how epigenetic factors contribute to the development of tumors and disease. We are now exploring how DNA methylation effects the development of human embryonic stem (hES) cells as well as induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells as they are induced to differentiate into other types of cells.

Epigenomic mapping cell-type classification

Principal Investigator: Joseph R Ecker
Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Title: "Epigenomic mapping approaches for cell-type classification in the brain"
BRAIN Category: Census of Cell Types (RFA MH-14-215)

Dr. Ecker's group will use signatures of epigenetics, the switching on-and-off of genes in response to experience, in mouse frontal cortex to help identify different classes of cells and understand their function.

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