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 Assistant Professor of Biology 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.
As reported in a paper published online today in the journal Nature, Caltech biologist David J. Anderson and his colleagues have genetically identified neurons that control aggressive behavior in the mouse hypothalamus.
Caltech biologist Elliot Meyerowitz and colleagues have found that the unusual shape of pavement cells, found on the leaves of flowering plants, represents a state of balance—an individual cell's tug-of-war to maintain structural integrity.
In the newly created position, Jergovic will collaborate closely with the president and provost, and with the division chairs, faculty, and senior leadership on campus and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"The thing that makes this study really interesting is that we did our calculations before we ever did any experiments," says Rob Phillips, the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology at Caltech.
In the recent study the researchers found that beneficial gut bacteria were necessary for the development of innate immune cells—specialized types of white blood cells that serve as the body's first line of defense against invading pathogens.
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.