This summer, several undergraduate students at Caltech had the opportunity to help optimize a promising technique that can make tissues and organs—even entire organisms—transparent for study. As part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, these students worked in the lab of Viviana Gradinaru, where researchers are developing such so-called clearing techniques that make it possible to peer straight through normally opaque tissues rather than seeing them only as thinly sectioned slices that have been pieced back together.
Among the 58 projects funded in furtherance of President Obama's "Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnology"—or BRAIN—Initiative are six projects either led or co-led by Caltech researchers.
Researchers around the country are adopting a technique developed in the Caltech lab of Nobel Laureate David Baltimore to try to guard against infection. The method, called VIP, was originally designed to trigger an immune response to HIV.
We recently spoke to David Anderson, Caltech's Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, about this work, his goals, and how the interdisciplinary collaborations he is building at Caltech are helping to spur a revolution in neuroscience.