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Caltech Scientists Show Why Anti-HIV Antibodies are Ineffective at Blocking Infection
04/22/2009

Caltech Scientists Show Why Anti-HIV Antibodies are Ineffective at Blocking Infection

Lori Oliwenstein

Some 25 years after the AIDS epidemic spawned a worldwide search for an effective vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), progress in the field seems to have effectively become stalled. The reason? According to new findings from a team of researchers from Caltech, it's at least partly due to the fact that our body's natural HIV antibodies simply don't have a long enough reach to effectively neutralize the viruses they are meant to target.  

Caltech Scientists Control Complex Nucleation Processes using DNA Origami Seeds
04/08/2009

Caltech Scientists Control Complex Nucleation Processes using DNA Origami Seeds

Kathy Svitil

The construction of complex man-made objects--a car, for example, or even a pizza--almost invariably entails what are known as "top-down" processes, in which the structure and order of the thing being built is imposed from the outside (say, by an automobile assembly line, or the hands of the pizza maker).

Caltech Researchers Train Computers to Analyze Fruit-Fly Behavior
04/07/2009

Caltech Researchers Train Computers to Analyze Fruit-Fly Behavior

Lori Oliwenstein

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have trained computers to automatically analyze aggression and courtship in fruit flies, opening the way for researchers to perform large-scale, high-throughput screens for genes that control these innate behaviors.

Caltech Researchers Find Tiny Genetic Change Keeps Nicotine from Binding to Muscle Cells
03/23/2009

Caltech Researchers Find Tiny Genetic Change Keeps Nicotine from Binding to Muscle Cells

Lori Oliwenstein

A tiny genetic mutation is the key to understanding why nicotine--which binds to brain receptors with such addictive potency--is virtually powerless in muscle cells that are studded with the same type of receptor. That's according to California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers, who report their findings in the March 26 issue of the journal Nature.

Caltech Scientists Discover Mechanism for Wind Detection in Fruit Flies
03/11/2009

Caltech Scientists Discover Mechanism for Wind Detection in Fruit Flies

Lori Oliwenstein

Tiny, lightweight fruit flies need to know when it's windy out so they can steady themselves and avoid being knocked off their feet or blown off course. But how do they figure out that it's time to hunker down? Flies have evolved a specialized population of neurons in their antennae that let them know not only when the wind is blowing, but also the direction from which it is coming.

Caltech Biologists Find Optimistic Worms Are Ready for Rapid Recovery
03/09/2009

Caltech Biologists Find Optimistic Worms Are Ready for Rapid Recovery

Kathy Svitil

For the tiny soil-dwelling nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, life is usually a situation of feast or famine. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have found that this worm has evolved a surprisingly optimistic genetic strategy to cope with these disparate conditions--one that could eventually point the way to new treatments for a host of human diseases caused by parasitic worms.

Caltech Scientists Find Evidence for Precise Communication Across Brain Areas During Sleep
02/25/2009

Caltech Scientists Find Evidence for Precise Communication Across Brain Areas During Sleep

Lori Oliwenstein

By listening in on the chatter between neurons in various parts of the brain, researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have taken steps toward fully understanding just how memories are formed, transferred, and ultimately stored in the brain--and how that process varies throughout the various stages of sleep. 

Caltech Researchers Help Unlock the Secrets of Gene Regulatory Networks
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).

Three Caltech Scientists Receive Ellison Medical Foundation Awards
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.
Caltech Researchers Get First Look at How Groups of Cells Coordinate Their Movements
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.