Thanks to new techniques developed at Caltech, scientists can now see through tissues, organs, and even an entire body, offering new insights into the cell-by-cell makeup of organisms—and the promise of novel diagnostic medical applications.
"The method that we developed has now been validated in the most natural possible setting in a mouse," says David Baltimore, president emeritus and the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech.
Researchers at Caltech are the first to have utilized high-resolution electron microscopy to look at HIV infection within the actual tissue of an infected organism, providing perhaps the most detailed characterization yet of HIV infection in the gut.
Previous studies of anxiety in the brain have focused on the amygdala, an area known to play a role in fear. But a team of researchers led by biologists at Caltech had a hunch that understanding a different brain area, the lateral septum (LS), could provide more clues into how the brain processes anxiety. Their instincts paid off.
According to the latest studies from the fly laboratory of Caltech biologist David Anderson, male fruit flies fight more than their female counterparts because they have special cells in their brains that promote fighting. These cells appear to be absent in the brains of female fruit flies.
"Traditional research has studied autism as a genetic disorder and a disorder of the brain, but our work shows that gut bacteria may contribute to ASD-like symptoms in ways that were previously unappreciated," says Sarkis Mazmanian.
A group of researchers led by Caltech neuroscientist Ralph Adolphs has made the first recordings of the firings of single neurons in the brains of autistic individuals, and has found specific neurons in a region called the amygdala that show reduced processing of the eye region of faces.