Arnold Appointed New Director of Rosen Bioengineering Center

Now in its sixth year of exploring the intersection between biology and engineering, the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center has chosen Caltech professor Frances Arnold as its new director.

A Secret to Making Macrophages

Biologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have worked out the details of a mechanism that leads undifferentiated blood stem cells to become macrophages—immune cells that attack bacteria and other foreign pathogens.

New Research Sheds Light on M.O. of Unusual RNA Molecules

A team of researchers led by newly arrived Caltech biologist Mitchell Guttman and Kathrin Plath of UCLA, has figured out how some RNA molecules take advantage of their position within the 3-D structure of genomic material to home in on targets.

Biology Commencement 2013

Caltech Seniors Receive Fulbright Fellowships

Three graduating Caltech seniors, Alex Wang, Joy Xie, and Philip Kong, have been selected to receive 2013–2014 Fulbright scholarships to pursue graduate studies abroad.

Beauty and the Brain: Electrical Stimulation of the Brain Makes You Perceive Faces as More Attractive

Researchers, led by scientists at Caltech, have used a well-known, noninvasive technique to electrically stimulate a specific region deep inside the brain, causing volunteers to judge faces as more attractive than before their brains were stimulated.

Keeping Stem Cells Strong

A team of researchers led by biologists at Caltech has found that, in mouse models, the molecule microRNA-146a (miR-146a) acts as a critical regulator and protector of blood-forming stem cells during chronic inflammation, suggesting that a deficiency of miR-146a may be one important cause of blood cancers and bone marrow failure.

Fifty Years of Clearing the Skies

Los Angeles has had bouts of smog since the turn of the 20th century. Angelenos might now be living in a state of perpetual midnight—assuming we could live here at all—were it not for the work of Caltech professor Arie Jan Haagen-Smit.

Caltech Senior Wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Catherine Bingchan Xie, a senior bioengineering major and English minor at Caltech, has been selected to receive a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which will fund her graduate studies next year.

Developing Our Sense of Smell

When our noses pick up a scent, whether the aroma of a sweet rose or the sweat of a stranger at the gym, two types of sensory neurons are at work in sensing that odor or pheromone. These sensory neurons are particularly interesting because they are the only neurons in our bodies that regenerate throughout adult life—as some of our olfactory neurons die, they are soon replaced by newborns. Just where those neurons come from in the first place has long perplexed developmental biologists. Previous hypotheses about the origin of these olfactory nerve cells have given credit to embryonic cells that develop into skin or into the central nervous system, where ear and eye sensory neurons, respectively, are known to originate. But biologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have now found that neural-crest stem cells—multipotent, migratory cells unique to vertebrates that give rise to many structures in the body such as facial bones and smooth muscle—also play a key role in building olfactory sensory neurons in the nose.


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