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09/22/2010

Addicted to Nicotine

Michael Torrice

The first pull on a cigarette should send you into convulsions. But instead, smoking can mellow you out and sharpen your mind. The series of unfortunate events by which nicotine works its magic in your brain is now becoming clear.

 

09/12/2010

Sex, Flies, and Videotape

Douglas Smith
A Caltech neurobiologist, a computer scientist, and a bioengineer turn to the fruit fly to try to understand emotion.
photo of two fruit flies
08/23/2010

Fruit Flies Use Horizontal Landmarks for Altitude Control, Says Caltech Research Team

Lori Oliwenstein

Flies follow horizontal edges to regulate altitude, says a team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This finding contradicts a previous model, which posited that insects adjust their height by visually measuring the motion beneath them as they fly.

 

08/18/2010

Two Caltech Scientists Receive 2010 NIH Director's Pioneer Awards

Lori Oliwenstein

Two scientists from Caltech have been recognized by the National Institutes of Health for their innovative and high-impact biomedical research programs. Michael Roukes, professor of physics, applied physics, and bioengineering, and co-director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, and Pamela Bjorkman, Caltech's Max Delbrück Professor of Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, now join the 81 Pioneers who have been selected since the program's inception in 2004.

 

08/04/2010

Caltech Biologists Discover MicroRNAs that Control Function of Blood Stem Cells

Kathy Svitil

One key to fighting diseases such as leukemia and anemia is gaining an understanding of the genes and molecules that control the function of hematopoietic—or blood—stem cells, which provide the body with a constant supply of red and white blood cells and platelets. Biologists at Caltech have taken a large step toward that end, with the discovery of a novel group of molecules that are found in high concentrations within hematopoietic stem cells and appear to regulate their production.

08/02/2010

Gain and Loss in Optimistic Versus Pessimistic Brains

Kathy Svitil

Our belief as to whether we will likely succeed or fail at a given task—and the consequences of winning or losing—directly affects the levels of neural effort put forth in movement-planning circuits in the human cortex, according to a new brain-imaging study by Caltech neuroscientists. 

07/19/2010

Of Bugs & Brains: Caltech Researchers Discover that Gut Bacteria Affect Multiple Sclerosis

Kathy Svitil

Biologists at Caltech have demonstrated a connection between multiple sclerosis (MS)—an autoimmune disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord—and gut bacteria.

07/02/2010

Caltech Biologists Discover How T Cells Make a Commitment

Kathy Svitil

When does a cell decide its particular identity? According to Caltech biologists, in the case of T cells—immune system cells that help destroy invading pathogens—the answer is when the cells begin expressing a particular gene called Bcl11b.

06/30/2010

Caltech Researchers Show How Active Immune Tolerance Makes Pregnancy Possible

Lori Oliwenstein

How a pregnant body tolerates a fetus that is biologically distinct from its mother has long been a mystery. Now, a pair of scientists from Caltech have shown that females actively produce a particular type of immune cell in response to specific fetal antigens—immune-stimulating proteins—and that this response allows pregnancy to continue without the fetus being rejected by the mother's body.

06/03/2010

Caltech Biologists Provide Molecular Explanation for the Evolution of Tamiflu Resistance

Kathy Svitil

Biologists at Caltech have pinpointed molecular changes that helped allow the global spread of resistance to the antiviral medication Tamiflu (oseltamivir) among strains of the seasonal H1N1 flu virus.