Keeping Stem Cells Strong

A team of researchers led by biologists at Caltech has found that, in mouse models, the molecule microRNA-146a (miR-146a) acts as a critical regulator and protector of blood-forming stem cells during chronic inflammation, suggesting that a deficiency of miR-146a may be one important cause of blood cancers and bone marrow failure.

Fifty Years of Clearing the Skies

Los Angeles has had bouts of smog since the turn of the 20th century. Angelenos might now be living in a state of perpetual midnight—assuming we could live here at all—were it not for the work of Caltech professor Arie Jan Haagen-Smit.

Caltech Senior Wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Catherine Bingchan Xie, a senior bioengineering major and English minor at Caltech, has been selected to receive a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which will fund her graduate studies next year.

Developing Our Sense of Smell

When our noses pick up a scent, whether the aroma of a sweet rose or the sweat of a stranger at the gym, two types of sensory neurons are at work in sensing that odor or pheromone. These sensory neurons are particularly interesting because they are the only neurons in our bodies that regenerate throughout adult life—as some of our olfactory neurons die, they are soon replaced by newborns. Just where those neurons come from in the first place has long perplexed developmental biologists. Previous hypotheses about the origin of these olfactory nerve cells have given credit to embryonic cells that develop into skin or into the central nervous system, where ear and eye sensory neurons, respectively, are known to originate. But biologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have now found that neural-crest stem cells—multipotent, migratory cells unique to vertebrates that give rise to many structures in the body such as facial bones and smooth muscle—also play a key role in building olfactory sensory neurons in the nose.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Center for Student Services, 3rd Floor, Brennan Conference Room

Head TA Network Kick-off Meeting & Happy Hour

The First Genetic-Linkage Map

A hand-drawn map published 100 years ago held the first proof that chromosomes carry our genetic material.

Mayo Appointed to National Science Board

President Barack Obama has appointed Stephen Mayo, Caltech's William K. Bowes Jr. Foundation Chair of the Division of Biology and Bren Professor of Biology and Chemistry, to the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation.

Sorting Out Stroking Sensations

The skin is a human being's largest sensory organ, helping to distinguish between a pleasant contact, like a caress, and a negative sensation, like a pinch or a burn. Previous studies have shown that these sensations are carried to the brain by different types of sensory neurons that have nerve endings in the skin. Only a few of those neuron types have been identified, however, and most of those detect painful stimuli. Now biologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have identified in mice a specific class of skin sensory neurons that reacts to an apparently pleasurable stimulus.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Annenberg 121

Course Ombudspeople Lunch

Research Update: Wordy Worms and Their Eavesdropping Predators

For over 25 years, Paul Sternberg has been studying worms—how they develop, why they sleep, and, more recently, how they communicate. Now, he has flipped the script a bit by taking a closer look at how predatory fungi may be tapping into worm conversations to gain clues about their whereabouts.

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