The Institute in La Jolla, California was founded in 1960 by Dr. Jonas Salk with the support of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. (Salk developed a killed-virus vaccine against polio in 1955. This celebrated feat helped in raising funds for the Institute.)
The Salk Institute's two major areas of focus are:
Among the conditions under study at the Institute are AIDS, Alzheimer disease, birth defects, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, Parkinson disease, and the function of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).