Gathering Of Great Minds: Creating San Diego’s Salk Institute
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Aired 2/20/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.
La Jolla is the region's hub for the biotech and scientific community, but it hasn't always been that way. Back in the early 1960s, groundbreaking was just beginning on a research center high above the cliffs overlooking the ocean, where scientists would begin to work to understand cancer, aging, diabetes, among other medical challenges. The Salk Institute was the brainchild of Dr. Jonas Salk, the scientist who developed the polio vaccine.
After he developed the vaccine that wiped out polio, Salk had another great scientific mission: He wanted to create a research institute that brought together the best scientist and extraordinary thinkers to unlock the mysteries of human biology. More than 50 years later, the Salk Institute is a thriving intellectual and artistic treasure for San Diego. It's been an essential part in making San Diego a hub in the biotech industry.
Creating the institute took a combination of ego, passion, generosity and good luck. And now the story of the start of the Salk Institute is being told by a woman who was there almost at the beginning. Suzanne Bourgeois is the Founding Director of Salk's Regulatory Biology Laboratory. Her book is called The Genesis of the Salk Institute: The Epic of Its Founders.