Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology at the Salk Institute

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

The Salk Institute The Salk Institute for Biological Studies was established as a center of excellence for fundamental studies in the life sciences. The Institute was founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, with a gift of land from the City of San Diego and the financial support of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. Today it is one of the world’s foremost independent non-profit institutions devoted to biomedical research. The Salk Institute’s two major areas of focus are the neurosciences, and molecular biology/genetics; the Institute recently received the highest worldwide ranking in both of these areas by the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information.


The Faculty

The Salk Institute houses 20 laboratories, whose principal investigators are members of the Institute’s faculty. At the present time, the faculty number 55. They are supported by a scientific staff of more than 500, including visiting scientists, some 200 postdoctoral trainees, approximately 100 graduate students, and nearly 50 undergraduate laboratory students. The faculty are advised by a distinguished group of eleven Non-Resident Fellows, who are renowned and influential scientists at academic and research institutions around the world.

Two of the Institute’s resident faculty and five Non-Resident Fellows are Nobel laureates. Ten faculty are members of the National Academy of Sciences, four are Fellows of the Royal Society of London, and five are Investigators of the Howard Hughs Medical Institute. Other distinctions are regularly received by Salk Institute researchers, including Presidential Young Investigator Awards, National Institutes of Health MERIT, Outstanding Investigator, and Jacob Javits Neuroscience Awards, and Pew Scholarships.

Educational Programs

Although not a degree-granting institution, The Salk Institute plays a major role in training scientists, including graduate students from nearby universities, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scientists who come from around the world to learn new fields and research techniques.

Since the Institute’s founding, some 2,000 scientists have been trained here; many have gone on to positions of leadership in other prominent research centers worldwide. Three of the scientists trained at the Salk Institute have been awarded the Nobel Prize. The Salk Institute maintains close scientific ties with other research institutions in the United States
and throughout the world. Visiting scientists bring a constant flow of new ideas to the Institute while they take advantage of its rich intellectual environment and modern laboratory facilities. This essential cross-fertilization is further facilitated by the Institute faculty members who hold adjunct appointments at neighboring universities and by the non-resident fellows, all of whom help to identify new research trends, and to ensure that the Institute maintains the highest standards.

The Campus
The 26-acre campus of The Salk Institute overlooks the Pacific Ocean on Torrey Pines Mesa in La Jolla, California. Its laboratories are currently housed in two architecturally prominent buildings designed in the 1960s by Louis I. Kahn, specifically for the pursuit of scientific knowledge. In 1995, a third large structure was completed, providing space for new scientific programs, research support services, administrative services, and meeting facilities for scientific symposia.

Funding Sources

As a private, non-profit research organization, the Salk Institute depends on many sources of funding to support its scientific programs. A large portion of Institute support is in the form of federal grants to individual investigators, principally from the National Institutes of Health. Additional support comes from private sources, including major philanthropic agents such as the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Cancer Society.


The Salk Institute
The Salk Institute - Sloan-Swartz
10010 N. Torrey Pines Rd
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 453-4100