LA JOLLA, CA-The Salk Institute for Biological Studies today announced the establishment of the Renato Dulbecco Chair in Genomics and the Roger Guillemin Chair in Neuroscience based on an endowment of $6 million from Irwin Jacobs, chairman of the Salk's Board of Trustees, and his wife Joan Klein Jacobs.
"The creation of each chair will pay permanent tribute to the extraordinary research contributions of these two remarkable scientists," said Salk President William R. Brody. "The central roles played by Dr. Dulbecco in genomics and Dr. Guillemin in neuroscience have built a legacy of leadership and innovation that will remain embedded in the Institute now and for years to come."
Renato Dulbecco, M.D., a Founding Fellow of the Salk Institute and President Emeritus, conducted seminal research that provided the first clue to the genetic nature of cancer. He was jointly awarded the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries concerning the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell. In his studies, he described how a virus could insert its own genes into the chromosome of the cell it infects and "turn on" the uncontrolled growth that is the hallmark of cancer. This was the first solid evidence that cancer originates when a cell's genes become mutated, or co-opted, and the breakthrough transformed the way researchers viewed cancer. In 1986, Dulbecco initiated the idea of studying all human genes, helping to launch the worldwide Human Genome Project.
Dr. Dulbecco is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Lasker Award and those given by the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London and the Academia Del Lincei of Italy. To highlight his achievements, the Salk Institute established the Dulbecco Laboratories for Cancer Research in 2005.
Roger Guillemin, M.D., Ph.D., a distinguished professor and former president of the Salk Institute, won the Nobel Prize in 1977 for discoveries that laid the foundation for brain hormone research. Considered the founder of the field of neuroendocrinology, Guillemin is a scientific pioneer whose work has led to treatments for disorders ranging from infertility to diabetes to pituitary tumors. He discovered an entirely new class of substances that regulate growth, development, reproduction and responses to stress. His discoveries also advanced the study and treatment of a variety of diseases and disorders, including thyroid diseases, infertility, diabetes and several types of tumors.
The beneficiary of countless honors in addition to the Nobel Prize, Guillemin is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received the Lasker Award and the National Medal of Science, among many others. The Institute for Scientific Information lists him as one of the most "highly cited" scientists from 1981-99.
In addition to their profound scientific achievements, Dr. Dulbecco and Dr. Guillemin have each served in leadership roles at the Salk Institute. Dr. Dulbecco was president of the Salk Institute from 1989 to 1992, and Dr. Guillemin served as Interim President from 2007 to 2009.
"Joan and I are particularly pleased to establish these chairs to recognize our two resident Nobel Prize winners, Drs. Dulbecco and Guillemin, for their incredible achievements in science and research, for the leadership they have provided over the years at Salk, and for the legions of scientists they continue to mentor and inspire," said Jacobs.
Joanne Chory, Ph.D., Salk Faculty Chair and holder of the Howard H. and Maryam R. Newman Chair said that the Institute is deeply honored by the couple's generous gift. "Renato and Roger are held in great esteem by their Salk colleagues and their former students. We are indebted to the Jacobs' wonderful generosity in creating these chairs to honor these two extraordinary scientists for their pioneering research and their leadership as former presidents of the Salk Institute."
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