Caltech chemists have used the resources of the Molecular Observatory to take a crucial step toward unlocking the mystery of how bacteria use an enzyme called nitrogenase to convert nitrogen—an essential component of all living systems—into a form that living systems can use.
Using a novel microfluidic technique, researchers at Caltech have shown that, rather than simply replenishing immune cells after they become depleted, blood stem cells sense danger signals directly and quickly produce new immune cells.
"Our group is interested in the chemical transformations that are relevant to feeding and fueling the planet. There are two efforts on this campus in artificial photosynthesis, and I participate in both."
The industrial technique used to make nitrogen fertilizers mirrors the natural process of nitrogen fixation but requires high heat and pressure. Researchers at Caltech have synthesized a catalyst that allows for nitrogen fixation under much milder conditions.
The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation has recognized Thomas F. Miller, professor of chemistry, with a 2013 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, which provides a $75,000 unrestricted research grant.
Professor of Chemistry Shu-ou Shan studies the gears and springs in the molecular machinery of life. She’ll be giving us a guided tour of the cellular assembly line at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 in Caltech’s Beckman Auditorium. Admission is free.
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.