The Salk Institute for Biological Studies made two big announcements last week:
- It has received a $3.8 million grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health to create a basic science facility conducting research on the visual system.
- It has established the Irwin M. Jacobs Presidential Chair based on an endowment from Qualcomm and Qualcomm’s employees.
“The Presidential Chair commemorates Qualcomm founder Dr. Irwin Jacobs’ recent decision to step down as chairman of Qualcomm’s board of directors and recognizes his ongoing dedicated leadership of the Salk Institute’s board of trustees,” a news release states.
The Presidential Chair will be the largest chair endowed in the Salk’s history and will provide $4 million when fully funded. The inaugural chair-holder will be the Salk’s new president, William R. Brody.
“Endowing a chair that will help ensure superb leadership at the Salk seemed a very fitting way to honor Irwin,” Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer of Qualcomm, who is Irwin’s son, said in the Salk release. “His legacy is linked to the attraction and development of the world’s finest executive talent, and his instincts are always to motivate, encourage and promote groundbreaking research.”
In a separate news release issued a day earlier, the Salk detailed plans for the new Salk Institute Center for the Neurobiology of Vision, the only one of its kind in the San Diego region and the seventh such NEI center.
The five-year grant funds core facilities that support each of the core group of 15 scientists’ projects.
“Discoveries made here with the support of this grant will undoubtedly facilitate the development of therapies for macular degeneration and other serious retinal and visual problems,” said Marsha A. Chandler, Salk executive vice president.
Researchers from the Salk’s vision, systems neurobiology, regulatory biology and computational neurobiology laboratories, among others, are working to understand the mechanisms that process visual inputs in the retina and the brain and how that affects behavior, according to a news release.
The Salk Institute Center for the Neurobiology of Vision joins other NEI-funded research centers throughout the United States, including Harvard Medical School’s Schepens Eye Research Institute and UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute.