Research Report: Salk scientist honored for pioneering work

Salk Institute professor Inder M. Verma, Ph.D., has been named the 2009 recipient of the American Society of Gene Therapy’s Outstanding Achievement Award.

The award recognizes groundbreaking research or a lifetime of significant scientific contributions to the field of gene therapy. Verma, one of the world’s leading authorities on the development and use of engineered viruses for gene therapy, is only the second scientist honored with the society’s Outstanding Achievement Award.

Verma pioneered the use of stripped-down versions of viruses, in particular HIV, to transport intact versions of genes that are defective or missing to cells throughout the body. His innovations revolutionized gene therapy, stem cell and cancer research, and other areas of molecular biology.

Cancer modeling
In studying the preventive effects of vitamin D, researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at UCSD, have proposed a new model of cancer development that points to loss of communication among cells–due to, among other things, low vitamin D and calcium levels–as responsible for the earliest stages of many cancers. This differs markedly from the current understanding of cancer development based on genetic mutations. The findings are reported online in the Annals of Epidemiology.

Studies about the potential preventive effects of vitamin D have been ongoing for decades. Last year, the same UCSD team showed an association between deficiency in sunlight exposure, low vitamin D, and breast cancer. In previous work, they showed associations between increased levels of vitamin D3 (markers of vitamin D) and a lower risk for breast, colon, ovarian, and kidney cancers.

Whale sounds give clues to mammal’s features
An audio and videotape recording of a sperm whale stealing a fisherman’s catch has provided scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD with a first-ever opportunity to compare the mammal’s clicking sounds to physical features of the animal’s head, including its size and internal organ structure.

Sperm whales typically dive to pitch-black water depths of 984 to 6,500 feet to catch prey, making it impossible to capture such activity on video. But in recent years, in Alaska, some sperm whales have developed the ability to steal black cod off “longlines,” deep-sea fishing gear used at 328 feet where videotaping is possible using ambient light.

Until the recording was made, scientists had not been able to get a direct comparison of the size of the animal and its foraging sounds. The study provides a glimpse into a possible new approach for investigating the biology behind marine mammal sounds and perhaps more accurately count their populations. The finding is published in the May issue of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Related posts:

  1. Research report: Drug to battle flu in the works
  2. Research Report: Salk Institute receives grant for aging research
  3. Juneja honored for research
  4. Research Report: Team links protein to cartilage degeneration
  5. Research Report: Whales resume ancient migration patterns

Short URL:

Posted by marylajolla on Jun 5, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6



  • Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’s La Jolla office tops in real estate sales volume for first half of 2014
    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices reported its La Jolla office was No. 1 for sales production through the first half of the year, out of the company’s North American network of offices. The results point to another year of dominance for the La Jolla office, which has ranked No. 1 nationwide for nine of the last 11 years. […]
  • House of Week; 329 Bonair Street #4
    Buy The Sea! 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths. Just a 1/2 block to famous WindanSea Beach. Watch for the green flash in the sunset from one of 5 balconies. Over 1350 sq ft. Great separation of bedrooms. Marble living room fireplace. Skylights. Dual pane windows. Gas range. Two-car tandem garage off alley. Offered at $995,000 […]
  • What were the odds?
    I think we’d all agree that no one should have to worry about being run over by a motor vehicle in their own shower. I’m a world class worrier but until it almost happened, it never occurred to me to worry that a stolen car would crash through our front fence and stop inches from joining me in the master bath. This wasn’t recent, fortunately, but it comprise […]