skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

Gathering Of Great Minds: Creating San Diego’s Salk Institute

Evening Edition

Aired 2/20/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Suzanne Bourgeois, Founding Director of Regulatory Biology Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, author, "The Genesis of the Salk Institute: The Epic of its Founders".


University of California Press

Authored by Suzanne Bourgeois,"The Genesis of the Salk Institute: The Epic of its Founders" chronicles the origin of the Salk Institute in La Jolla.

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.


Salk Institute - 50 years

Salk Institute Celebrating 50 years of Discovery/Salk Institute 2010

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'janecartmill4'

janecartmill4 | April 14, 2014 at 12:11 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Salk Institute conducts some very grim animal experiments in their brain-mapping research. Primates are confined for long periods of time in restraint chairs, with electrodes implanted in their brains and recording coils attached to their eyes.
They are deprived of liquids so that they will find a small sip of juice to be a reward for cooperating with the testing. This is only one example of Salk animal experimentation.
Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that
over the past 18 months Salk has admitted to multiple violations of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and has received at least 6 letters from the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare citing an assortment of offenses including incorrect veterinary and surgical procedures; failure to maintain records; death of animals by suffocation and starvation and injury due to neglect and mishandling; animals escaping from their cages; inability of staff to distinguish between dead and live animals (live animals were placed in a freezer because they were thought to be dead); surgery performed without requisite anesthesia, and animals left with untreated open wounds. And these are the violations that Salk reported voluntarily. I have to wonder what more may be going on that has not been admitted. I don't know why the public should have any faith in the "science" of an institution that demonstrates such sloppy and neglectful treatment of its research "subjects."

( | suggest removal )