This week I got to attend the 22nd annual Usha Mahajani Symposium on Molecular Medicine at the Salk Institute. In a contrast to other symposia I have attended in my nascent scientific career, all of the speakers seemed genuinely proud to be there, and most of the talks were quite insightful. Some even exhumed the type of innovation that inspires you to do better science.
I love the architecture of the Salk. My inter artist absolutely loves the helio-aligned waterfall, the robust concrete monuments of labs lining the mall that funnel the salty sea breeze off the expanse of Pacific below. It has a very timeless and pagan feel to it.
Still on display were some of the brilliant glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly, which were part of a larger display at the Salk earlier in the summer.
Dr. Roger Tsien (nobel laureate) discussed his improved imaging techniques for tumors, enabling real-time detection and imaging of tumors and nerve tissue during surgery!!! Often overlooked, efforts to enhance the precision of surgical resection of tumors will be a tool to greatly reduce recurrence and enhance long-term survival.
Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti finished off the day with a talk on tumor-penetrating peptides for use in enhancing local concentration of current and future cancer drugs. Lower dose and higher effectivity sounds pretty good!