Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Salk Institute for Biological Studies


The institute has 56 labs and focuses its research in three areas: Molecular Biology and Genetics; Neurosciences; and Plant Biology. Research topics include cancer, diabetes, birth defects, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, AIDS, and the neurobiology of American Sign Language.

The March of Dimes provided the initial funding and continues to support the institute. The campus was designed by Louis Kahn. Salk had sought to make a beautiful campus in order to draw the best researchers in the world.

The original buildings of the Salk Institute were designated as a historical landmark in 1991. The entire 27 acre site was deemed eligible by the California Historical Resources Commission in 2006 for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

[ The World Monuments Fund] has listed the Salk Institute on its 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. A proposed Master Plan would add over convert|240000|sqft|m2, most on the western side overlooking the ocean, and subdivide the property into four parcels.

The institute currently employs more than 1200 researchers and staff.


The institute is housed in a modernist complex, designed by the architect Louis I. Kahn, [ [ The Architect's Newspaper ] ] that consists of two symmetric buildings with a stream of water flowing in the middle of a courtyard that separates the two. The buildings themselves have been designed to promote collaboration, and thus there are no walls separating laboratories on any floor. There is one floor in the basement, and two above it on both sides. The lighting fixtures have been designed to easily slide along rails on the roof, in tune with the collaborative and open philosophy of the Salk institute's science. The basement also houses the trasgenic core. Tenured professors also receive a study that has a view of the Pacific ocean. Most of the laboratories and studies are named after the benefactors, such as the Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology [ [ Sloan-Swartz ] ] and the Razavi Newman Center for Bioinformatics. [ [ Salk Bioinformatics ] ] A library that houses current periodicals, some books and computers is located on the ground floor of the east end of the North building. [ [ Salk Institute - The Salk Campus - Directions and Tours ] ] The Frederic de Hoffmann auditorium and the Trustees' Room are located in the basement of the north and south wings of the institute.


Salk and Kahn approached the city of San Diego in March 1960 about a gift of land on the Torrey Pines Mesa and were granted their request after a referendum in June 1960. Construction began in 1962 and a handful of researchers moved into the first laboratory in 1963. Additional buildings housing more laboratories as well as the organizational administrative offices were constructed in the 1990s, designed by Anshen & Allen.

The Institute is seeking approvals from the City of San Diego for a controversial expansion over the next 40 - 50 years that includes a fitness facility, daycare center and residences on the southwest part of the campus, a four-story building on the northwest, and a convert|92000|sqft|m2|sing=on building at the front.

As a memorial to Jonas Salk, a golden engraving lies on the floor at the entrance to the institute: "Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality."


Roger Guillemin is the interim president of the institute. [ [ Salk Institute - Press Releases - Salk Institute Appoints Nobel Laureate Dr. Roger Guillemin as Interim President ] ] Irwin M. Jacobs is Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Nobel Laureates

The institute has 3 living Nobel laureates on its active faculty: Sydney Brenner, Renato Dulbecco and Roger Guillemin.

Francis Crick took a sabbatical year in 1976 at the Salk Institute. Crick had been a nonresident fellow of the Institute since 1960. After the sabbatical, Crick left Cambridge in order to continue working at the Salk Institute.

Famous employees

*Tony Hunter
*Francis Crick
*Bart Sefton
*Ronald M. Evans
*Marguerite Vogt
*António Damásio
*Dr. Ursula Bellugi, founder of the neurobiology of American Sign Language


External links

* [ Photos of Salk Institute]
* [ CNN: Study reverses male infertility in mice]
* [ San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine news release]
* [ Salk Institute Cancer Center at]

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