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02/03/2009

Caltech Researchers Help Unlock the Secrets of Gene Regulatory Networks

Kathy Svitil

A quartet of studies by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) highlight a special feature on gene regulatory networks recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

12/22/2008

Three Caltech Scientists Receive Ellison Medical Foundation Awards

Jon Weiner
The Ellison Medical Foundation (EMF) has awarded Senior Scholar Awards of nearly $1 million each to three California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers for exploratory projects in the molecular biology of aging processes and age-related diseases.
12/08/2008

Caltech Researchers Get First Look at How Groups of Cells Coordinate Their Movements

Lori Oliwenstein

Using novel imaging, labeling, and data-analysis techniques, scientists from Caltech have been able to visualize, for the first time, large numbers of cells moving en masse during some of the earliest stages of embryonic development. ??The findings not only provide insight into this stage of development--called gastrulation--but give a more general glimpse at how a living organism choreographs the motions of thousands of cells at one time.

12/01/2008

Caltech Scientists Show Function of Helical Band in Heart

Lori Oliwenstein

Scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created images of the heart's muscular layer that show, for the first time, the connection between the configuration of those muscles and the way the human heart contracts. More precisely, they showed that the muscular band--which wraps around the inner chambers of the heart in a helix--is actually a sort of twisting highway along which each contraction of the heart travels.

11/25/2008

Caltech Scientists Develop "Barcode Chip" for Cheap, Fast Blood Tests

Kathy Svitil

PASADENA, Calif.-- A new "barcode chip" developed by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) promises to revolutionize diagnostic medical testing. In less than 10 minutes, and using just a pinprick's worth of blood, the chip can measure the concentrations of dozens of proteins, including those that herald the presence of diseases like cancer and heart disease.

11/20/2008

Caltech's David Baltimore and Fiona Harrison Named among America's Best Leaders for 2008

Lori Oliwenstein
Two prominent researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have been named among the country's 24 top leaders by U.S. News Media Group in association with the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard Kennedy School.
11/17/2008

Caltech Researchers Use Electron Cryotomography to Get First 3-D Glimpse of Bacterial Cell-Wall Architecture

Lori Oliwenstein
The bacterial cell wall that is the target of potent antibiotics such as penicillin is actually made up of a thin single layer of carbohydrate chains, linked together by peptides, which wrap around the bacterium like a belt around a person, according to research conducted by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This first-ever glimpse of the cell-wall structure in three dimensions was made possible by new high-tech microscopy techniques that enabled the scientists to visualize these biological structures at nanometer scales.
10/13/2008

Caltech Biologists Spy on the Secret Inner Life of a Cell

Kathy Svitil
The transportation of antibodies from a mother to her newborn child is vital for the development of that child's nascent immune system. Those antibodies, donated by transfer across the placenta before birth or via breast milk after birth, help shape a baby's response to foreign pathogens and may influence the later occurrence of autoimmune diseases. Images from biologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have revealed for the first time the complicated process by which these antibodies are shuttled from mother's milk, through her baby's gut, and into the bloodstream, and offer new insight into the mammalian immune system.
10/08/2008

Caltech Scientists Engineer Supersensitive Receptor, Gain Better Understanding of Brain's Dopamine System

Lori Oliwenstein
Genetically modifying a receptor found on the neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine has given California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers a unique glimpse into the workings of the brain's dopamine system--as well as a new target for treating diseases that result from either too much or too little of this critical neurotransmitter.
09/30/2008

Caltech Scientists Find Cells Coordinate Gene Activity with FM Bursts

Kathy Svitil
How a cell achieves the coordinated control of a number of genes at the same time, a process that's necessary for it to regulate its own behavior and development, has long puzzled scientists. Michael Elowitz, an assistant professor of biology and applied physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), along with Long Cai, a postdoctoral research scholar at Caltech, and graduate student Chiraj Dalal, have discovered a surprising answer. Just as human engineers control devices ranging from dimmer switches to retrorockets using pulsed--or frequency modulated (FM)--signals, cells tune the expression of groups of genes using discrete bursts of activation.