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.

 

Caltech Team Says Sporulation May Have Given Rise to the Bacterial Outer Membrane

Bacteria can generally be divided into two classes: those with just one membrane and those with two. Now researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have used a powerful imaging technique to find what they believe may be the missing link between the two classes, as well as a plausible explanation for how the outer membrane may have arisen.

HIV Havens: Caltech Researchers Find New Clues About How HIV Reservoirs May Form

Much like cities organize contingency plans and supplies for emergencies, chronic infectious diseases like HIV form reservoirs that ensure their survival in adverse conditions. But these reservoirs—small populations of viruses or bacteria of a specific type that persist despite attack by the immune system or drug treatment—are not always well understood. Now, however, researchers at Caltech believe they have begun to decode how a reservoir of infection can persist in HIV-positive populations.

New Faculty Member Brings Quantitative Approaches to Biology

Lea Goentoro remembers the precise moment that biology made an impression on her. It was 2002 and she was a PhD candidate in chemical engineering at Princeton. During a presentation, developmental biologist and Nobel laureate Eric Wieschaus showed a movie of a live fly embryo under a microscope that was undergoing gastrulation, a process she found fascinating. Now, nine years after that fateful day in New Jersey, Goentoro is Caltech's newest faculty member in the Division of Biology. 

Caltech Researchers Increase the Potency of HIV-Battling Proteins

When it comes to a small HIV-fighting protein, called cyanovirin-N, Caltech researchers have found that two are better than one.

Sharper, Deeper, Faster: Interdisciplinary Team Develops Advanced Live-Imaging Approach

For modern biologists, the ability to capture high-quality, 3D images of living tissues or organisms over time is necessary to answer problems in areas ranging from genomics to neurobiology and developmental biology. Looking to improve upon current methods of imaging, researchers from Caltech have developed a novel approach that could redefine optical imaging of live biological samples by simultaneously achieving high resolution, high penetration depth, and high imaging speed.

 

Neutralizing HIV

Each time a virus invades a healthy individual, antibodies created by the body fight to fend off the intruders. For HIV, the antibodies are very specific and are generated too slowly to combat the rapidly changing virus. However, scientists have found that some HIV-positive people develop highly potent antibodies that can neutralize different subtypes of the virus. Now, a study involving Caltech researchers points to the possibility of using these neutralizing antibodies in the development of a vaccine.

 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - BBE