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09/22/2008

Bruce A. Hay, Caltech Biologist, Named NIH Pioneer Award Recipient

Lori Oliwenstein
Bruce A. Hay, associate professor of biology at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has been named a 2008 NIH Director's Pioneer Award recipient by National Institutes of Health Director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD.
09/03/2008

Scientists Find Our Eyes Evolved for 'X-Ray' Vision

Kathy Svitil
The advantage of using two eyes to see the world around us has long been associated solely with our capacity to see in three dimensions. Now, a new study by scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has uncovered a truly eye-opening advantage to binocular vision: the ability to see through things.
08/28/2008

Caltech Scientists Discover Why Flies Are So Hard to Swat

Kathy Svitil
Over the past two decades, Michael Dickinson has been interviewed by reporters hundreds of times about his research on the biomechanics of insect flight. One question from the press has always dogged him: Why are flies so hard to swat?
08/06/2008

Caltech Neurobiologists Discover Individuals Who "Hear" Movement

Kathy Svitil
Individuals with synesthesia perceive the world in a different way from the rest of us. Because their senses are cross-activated, some synesthetes perceive numbers or letters as having colors or days of the week as possessing personalities, even as they function normally in the world. Now, researchers at the California Institute of Technology have discovered a type of synesthesia in which individuals hear sounds, such as tapping, beeping, or whirring, when they see things move or flash. Surprisingly, the scientists say, auditory synesthesia may not be unusual--and may simply represent an enhanced form of how the brain normally processes visual information.
07/30/2008

Caltech Researchers Discover Dual-Use Sexual Attraction and Population-Control Chemicals in Nematodes

Kathy Svitil
Organisms ranging from humans to plants to the lowliest bacterium use molecules to communicate. Some chemicals trigger the various stages of an organism's development, and still others are used to attract members of the opposite sex. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have now found a rare kind of signaling molecule in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans that serves a dual purpose, working as both a population-control mechanism and a sexual attractant.
07/18/2008

A Viral Cloaking Device: Caltech biologists show how Human Cytomegalovirus hides from the immune system

elisabeth nadin
Viruses achieve their definition of success when they can thrive without killing their host. Now, biologists Pamela Bjorkman and Zhiru Yang of the California Institute of Technology have uncovered how one such virus, prevalent in humans, evolved over time to hide from the immune system.
06/30/2008

Protein Expert Joins Inaugural Class of Science Fellows:Caltech Vice Provost recognized with new Department of Defense award

Jacqueline Scahill
The Department of Defense (DoD) named California Institute of Technology Vice Provost Stephen Mayo one of six university faculty scientists and engineers in the inaugural class of National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows (NSSEFF). Up to $3 million of direct research support will be given to each NSSEFF fellow for up to five years. The grants are intended to engage the next generation of outstanding scientists and engineers in the most challenging technical issues facing the DoD.
06/09/2008

Caltech Scientists Decipher the Neurological Basis of Timely Movement

Kathy Svitil
Contrary to what one might imagine, the way in which each of us interacts with the world is not a simple matter of seeing (or touching, or smelling) and then reacting. Even the best baseball hitter eyeing a fastball does not swing at what he sees. The neurons and neural connections that make up our sensory systems are far too slow for this to work. "Everything we sense is a little bit in the past," says Richard A. Andersen of the California Institute of Technology, who has now uncovered the trick the brain uses to get around this puzzling problem.
05/28/2008

Getting Better with a Little Help from Our "Micro" Friends

Kathy Svitil
A naturally occurring molecule made by symbiotic gut bacteria may offer a new type of treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, according to scientists at the California Institute of Technology.
05/15/2008

Sight Recovery After Blindness Offers New Insights on Brain Reorganization

Kathy Svitil
Studies of the brains of blind persons whose sight was partially restored later in life have produced a compelling example of the brain's ability to adapt to new circumstances and rewire and reconfigure itself.