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01/25/2012

Making Sense of Sensory Connections

Katie Neith

A key feature of human and animal brains is that they are adaptive; they are able to change their structure and function based on input from the environment and on the potential associations, or consequences, of that input. To learn more about such neural adaptability, researchers at Caltech have explored the brains of insects and identified a mechanism by which the connections in their brain change to form new and specific memories of smells.

 

01/25/2012

Alexander Varshavsky Receives King Faisal International Prize for Science

Katie Neith

Alexander Varshavsky, Caltech's Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits Professor of Cell Biology, has been awarded the 2012 King Faisal International Prize (KFIP) for Science. The winners of the prize, which also includes awards for medicine, Arabic language and literature, Islamic studies, and service to Islam, were announced in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on January 16. 

 

01/13/2012

Connecting the Dots

Katie Neith
A multidisciplinary approach to building implantable neural devices could help blind people see, paralyzed people stand, and even endow robotic limbs with a sense of touch.
image of dots connected by lines
01/12/2012

Worm Seeks Worm: Caltech Researchers Find Chemical Cues Driving Aggregation in Nematodes

Katie Neith

Scientists have long seen evidence of social behavior among many species of animals. Right under our feet, it appears that roundworms are having their own little gatherings in the soil.

01/11/2012

Different Minds

Llike the autism spectrum itself, the spectrum of autism research at Caltech also runs a gamut.
image of people making different gestures
12/07/2011

Eric Davidson Awarded the International Prize for Biology

Marcus Woo

Eric Davidson, Caltech's Norman Chandler Professor of Cell Biology, has been awarded the 2011 International Prize for Biology by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. On November 28, Davidson received a medal at a ceremony in Tokyo and an imperial gift, a silver vase from Emperor Akihito. The award also includes ten million yen (more than $125,000 USD).

11/30/2011

Biologists Deliver Neutralizing Antibodies that Protect Against HIV Infection in Mice

Katie Neith

Over the past year, researchers at Caltech, and around the world, have been studying a group of potent antibodies that have the ability to neutralize HIV in the lab; their hope is that they may learn how to create a vaccine that makes antibodies with similar properties. Now, biologists at Caltech led by Nobel Laureate David Baltimore have taken one step closer to that goal: they have developed a way to deliver these antibodies to mice and, in so doing, have effectively protected them from HIV infection.

 

11/23/2011

Caltech Scientists Point to Link between Missing Synapse Protein and Abnormal Behaviors

Kimm Fesenmaier

Although many mental illnesses are uniquely human, animals sometimes exhibit abnormal behaviors similar to those seen in humans with psychological disorders. Such behaviors are called endophenotypes. Now, Caltech researchers have found that mice lacking a gene that encodes a particular protein found in the synapses of the brain display a number of endophenotypes associated with schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders.

11/02/2011

Caltech Researchers Find Pulsating Response to Stress in Bacteria

Marcus Woo

Turning on the heater is a reasonable response to a cold environment: switch to a toastier state until it warms up outside. Biologists have long thought cells would respond to their environment in a similar way. But now researchers at Caltech are finding that cells can respond using a new kind of pulsating mechanism. The principles behind this process are surprisingly simple, the researchers say, and could drive other cellular processes, revealing more about how the cells—and ultimately life—work.

11/01/2011

Switching Senses

Katie Neith

Many meat-eating animals have unique ways of hunting down a meal using their senses. To find a tasty treat, bats use echolocation, snakes rely on infrared vision, and owls take advantage of the concave feathers on their faces, the better to help them hear possible prey. Leeches have not just one but two distinct ways of detecting dinner, and, according to new findings from biologists at Caltech, their preferred method changes as they age.