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 worlds
foremost independent non-profit institutions devoted to biomedical research.
The Salk Institutes 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 Salk Institute houses 20 laboratories, whose principal investigators
are members of the Institutes 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 Institutes 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.
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 Institutes 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 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.
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.