open search form

News RSS Icon Subscribe via RSS

Beauty and the Brain: Electrical Stimulation of the Brain Makes You Perceive Faces as More Attractive
06/11/2013

Beauty and the Brain: Electrical Stimulation of the Brain Makes You Perceive Faces as More Attractive

Marcus Woo
Researchers have used a well-known, noninvasive technique to electrically stimulate a specific region deep inside the brain, causing volunteers to judge faces as more attractive than before their brains were stimulated.
Keeping Stem Cells Strong
05/21/2013

Keeping Stem Cells Strong

Katie Neith
A team of researchers led by biologists at Caltech has found that, in mouse models, the molecule microRNA-146a (miR-146a) acts as a critical regulator and protector of blood-forming stem cells during chronic inflammation, suggesting that a deficiency of miR-146a may be one important cause of blood cancers and bone marrow failure.
Fifty Years of Clearing the Skies
04/25/2013

Fifty Years of Clearing the Skies

Douglas Smith
Los Angeles has had bouts of smog since the turn of the 20th century. Angelenos might now be living in a state of perpetual midnight—assuming we could live here at all—were it not for the work of Caltech professor Arie Jan Haagen-Smit.
Caltech Senior Wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship
04/19/2013

Caltech Senior Wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Kimm Fesenmaier
Catherine Bingchan Xie, a senior bioengineering major and English minor at Caltech, has been selected to receive a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which will fund her graduate studies next year.
Developing Our Sense of Smell
03/25/2013

Developing Our Sense of Smell

Katie Neith
Biologists at Caltech have found that neural-crest stem cells—multipotent, migratory cells unique to vertebrates that give rise to many structures in the body such as facial bones and smooth muscle—play a key role in building olfactory sensory neurons in the nose.
The First Genetic-Linkage Map
03/21/2013

The First Genetic-Linkage Map

Douglas Smith
A hand-drawn map published 100 years ago held the first proof that chromosomes carry our genetic material.
Mayo Appointed to National Science Board
03/19/2013

Mayo Appointed to National Science Board

Katie Neith
President Barack Obama has appointed Stephen Mayo, Caltech's William K. Bowes Jr. Foundation Chair of the Division of Biology and Bren Professor of Biology and Chemistry, to the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation.
Sorting Out Stroking Sensations
01/30/2013

Sorting Out Stroking Sensations

Katie Neith
The skin is a human being's largest sensory organ, helping to distinguish between a pleasant contact, like a caress, and a negative sensation, like a pinch or a burn. Previous studies have shown that these sensations are carried to the brain by different types of sensory neurons that have nerve endings in the skin. Only a few of those neuron types have been identified, however, and most of those detect painful stimuli. Now biologists have identified in mice a specific class of skin sensory neurons that reacts to an apparently pleasurable stimulus.
Research Update: Wordy Worms and Their Eavesdropping Predators
12/13/2012

Research Update: Wordy Worms and Their Eavesdropping Predators

Katie Neith
For over 25 years, Paul Sternberg has been studying worms—how they develop, why they sleep, and, more recently, how they communicate. Now, he has flipped the script a bit by taking a closer look at how predatory fungi may be tapping into worm conversations to gain clues about their whereabouts.
Social Synchronicity: A Connection Between Bonding and Matched Movements
12/12/2012

Social Synchronicity: A Connection Between Bonding and Matched Movements

Katie Neith
Humans have a tendency to spontaneously synchronize their movements. For example, the footsteps of two friends walking together may synchronize, although neither individual is consciously aware that it is happening. Similarly, the clapping hands of an audience will naturally fall into synch. Although this type of synchronous body movement has been observed widely, its neurological mechanism and its role in social interactions remain obscure. A new study, led by cognitive neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has found that body-movement synchronization between two participants increases following a short session of cooperative training, suggesting that our ability to synchronize body movements is a measurable indicator of social interaction.