Inventing Medicine & Advancing Health
Through innovative and collaborative research efforts, Caltech's investigators push beyond existing knowledge, making discoveries that generate unique strategies for overcoming the most difficult problems in medicine.
Biomedical research at Caltech is spearheaded by more than 50 of the Institute's insightful biologists, chemists, and engineers—as well as their postdoctoral scholars and graduate students. These investigators excel at creating the kinds of game-changing methods and novel materials and devices that are transforming medicine.
Medical Science Research Portfolio
Diagnostics and Devices
- Neural prostheses and electromechanical systems for overcoming paralysis
- A fetal-distress monitor
- Lab-on-a-chip systems for the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases
- Fluorescent imaging to guide surgeons through surgical procedures
- Synthetic and biological cardiovascular valves, pumps, drug-delivery patches, and retinal implants
- New antibodies to target cancer and HIV
- Biomaterials for accelerated wound healing
- Therapeutics to overcome viruses such as HIV and influenza
- Effective interventions for anemia, bone marrow defects, and tumors
- Drugs derived from probiotic bacteria to treat asthma, autism, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis
- New therapies for autism
- Treatments for Parkinson's disease
- Improved methods for treating psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression
Systems and Synthetic Biology
- More effective pharmaceuticals
- Targeted cancer therapies with fewer side effects
- Prophylactic vaccines for the treatment of malignancies and infectious diseases
Research Centers and Partnerships
- Beckman Institute
- Biological Imaging Center
- Biological Network Modeling Center
- Caltech Brain Imaging Center
- Center for Computational Regulatory Genomics
- Center for Integrative Study of Cell Regulation
- Jacobs Institute for Molecular Engineering for Medicine
- Joint Center for Translational Medicine
- Kavli Nanoscience Institute
- Nanosystems Biology Cancer Center
- Protein Expression Center
- Sloan-Swartz Center for Theoretical Neurobiology
Caltech's collaborations with other institutions help in moving discoveries from the lab into the clinic. These affiliations include
- Research partnerships with City of Hope, UCLA, UCSF, USC, and other medical schools and research hospitals.
- Significant corporate partnerships with Amgen, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, and other biotech, health-care, and pharmaceutical companies.
- Arnold Beckman's invention of the pH meter launched the medical-diagnostics industry, making it possible for physicians to test blood samples and gauge human health.
- Lee Hood and colleagues' development of the automated DNA sequencer and other instruments paved the way for the fields of genetic engineering and molecular biology, and for the human genome project.
- In 2010, Caltech received the top scores in the National Research Council's rankings of biomedical engineering and bioengineering programs.
- Of Caltech's 32 Nobel Prizes, more than one-third have been awarded for developments that involved breakthroughs in biology or medicine.
- In recent years, Caltech faculty members have started more than 50 biomedical-research and biotechnology companies.
Emerging Priorities and Areas of Research
The future of medicine is being invented every day at Caltech—from developing new techniques for conducting incisionless surgery, to using biological engineering methods to neutralize diseases, to building tools for the early diagnosis of cancer from a blood sample. Now, the Institute is planning a major investment that will further accelerate and expand its research activities and leadership in the biological sciences. With new research programs and facilities—and with additional faculty, graduate students, and research staff—Caltech will be able to propel its current innovative and cross-disciplinary investigations into new areas of medical science to create unique and powerful diagnostic tools and clinical therapies, and to continue inventing the future of biology and medicine.