Fred Gage

Salk Institute

Head of the Laboratory of Genetics

“On the other hand, I am not frightened to admit that I believe this information is going to be useful to sick human beings. How soon, or for what specific conditions, I cannot say. But I really do believe that this will eventually work.” – Gage

Fred Gage is the head of the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. His experimentation has contributed several important pieces of evidence that the adult brain can, in fact, produce new neurons. Gage has utilized a wide variety of methodologies in his research including the common BrdU labeling and usage of neuronal markers, while also using innovative techniques. For example, Gage in collaboration with Eriksson and other scientists, took advantage of 14C present within the environment from nuclear bomb testing from the Cold War in order to determine the age of neurons within the neocortex, and evaluate the presence of neurogenesis within this new area. While Gage’s originial work focused on determining whether or not neurogenesis within the adult brain exists, his laboratory now focuses on how neurogenesis is able to be manipulated through external factors, such as drug  usage.

Gage is the co-founder of BrainCellsInc, an organization that “translates the science of neurogenesis into clincal practice” .  The company uses human stem cell based and animal based assays in order to provide measures of the three criteria for neurogenesis: proliferation, migration, and integration. BrainCellsInc has developed a neurogenesis platform in order to “accurately delineate” anti-depressant qualities of new chemicals and novel mechanisms in conjunction with new combinations of known agents in order to treat neuropsychiatric disorders. The main efforts of BrainCellsInc is the treatment of mood disorders, and possibly other areas such as cognition and brain repair.

Career Milestones

  • Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Fellow of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Fellow off the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Neuroscience Research Award, 1987
  • IPSEN Prize in Neuronal Plasticity, 1990
  • Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievements in Health and Education, 1993
  • Christopher Reeve Research Medal, 1997
  • Max Planck Research Prize, 1999
  • The Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Award, 1999
  • President, Society for Neuroscience, 2001
  • Vi and John Adler Professor on Age-related Neurodegenerative Diseases, 2001
  • MetLife Award for Medical Research, 2002
  • Klaus Joachim Zulch-Preis through the Max Planck Society, 2003
  • Acknowledgments



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