Switching Senses

Many meat-eating animals have unique ways of hunting down a meal using their senses. To find a tasty treat, bats use echolocation, snakes rely on infrared vision, and owls take advantage of the concave feathers on their faces, the better to help them hear possible prey. Leeches have not just one but two distinct ways of detecting dinner, and, according to new findings from biologists at Caltech, their preferred method changes as they age.

 

 

Building Better HIV Antibodies

Using highly potent antibodies isolated from HIV-positive people, researchers have recently begun to identify ways to broadly neutralize the many possible subtypes of HIV. Now, a team led by biologists at Caltech has built upon one of these naturally occurring antibodies to create a stronger version they believe is a better candidate for clinical applications. 

 

Caltech Professors Mark E. Davis and David A. Tirrell Elected to the Institute of Medicine

Mark E. Davis and David A. Tirrell of Caltech have been elected to the Institute of Medicine, an honor that is considered among the highest in the fields of health and medicine. Both Davis and Tirrell are already members of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, making them two of only 13 living individuals who have been elected to all three branches of the National Academies.

Caltech Named World's Top University in New Times Higher Education Global Ranking

Caltech has been rated the world's number one university in the 2011–2012 Times Higher Education global ranking of the top 200 universities, displacing Harvard University from the top spot for the first time in the survey's eight-year history. 

Caltech Engineers Build Smart Petri Dish

The cameras in our cell phones have dramatically changed the way we share the special moments in our lives, making photographs instantly available to friends and family. Now, the imaging sensor chips that form the heart of these built-in cameras are helping engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) transform the way cell cultures are imaged by serving as the platform for a "smart" petri dish. 

Caltech Neuroscientists Record Novel Responses to Faces from Single Neurons in Humans

Responding to faces is a critical tool for social interactions between humans. Without the ability to read faces and their expressions, it would be hard to tell friends from strangers upon first glance, let alone a sad person from a happy one. Now, neuroscientists from Caltech, with the help of collaborators at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, have discovered a novel response to human faces by looking at recordings from brain cells in neurosurgical patients.

Four Caltech Researchers Given NIH Director's Awards

Four members of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) faculty—William Clemons Jr., assistant professor of biochemistry; Thanos Siapas, professor of computation and neural systems; Long Cai, assistant professor of chemistry; and Lea Goentoro, assistant professor of biology—have been named among the researchers being given National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's Awards.

Capturing Snapshots in Time to Pick Apart Synaptic Activity

As we take in the world around us, learn, and form memories, the synapses between neurons in our brains are constantly being modified. Some get stronger, while others are allowed to shrink or get weaker. The network of enzyme-regulated chemical reactions that control these modifications is complex, to say the least. Now Mary Kennedy, the Allen and Lenabelle Davis Professor of Biology at Caltech, has come up with a way to tease apart the elusive details of that network. 

Captivated by Critters: Humans Are Wired to Respond to Animals

Some people feel compelled to pet every furry animal they see on the street, while others jump at the mere sight of a shark or snake on the television screen. No matter what your response is to animals, it may be thanks to a specific part of your brain that is hardwired to rapidly detect creatures of the nonhuman kind. In fact, researchers from Caltech and UCLA report that neurons throughout the amygdala—a center in the brain known for processing emotional reactions—respond preferentially to images of animals.

Caltech Group Applies New Techniques and Sees Surprises in Cell Division

Caltech researchers have obtained the first high-resolution, three-dimensional images of a cell with a nucleus undergoing cell division. The observations, made using a powerful imaging technique in combination with a new method for slicing cell samples, indicate that one of the characteristic steps of mitosis is significantly different in some cells.

 

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