Caltech Scientists Control Complex Nucleation Processes using DNA Origami Seeds

The construction of complex man-made objects--a car, for example, or even a pizza--almost invariably entails what are known as "top-down" processes, in which the structure and order of the thing being built is imposed from the outside (say, by an automobile assembly line, or the hands of the pizza maker).

Caltech Researchers Train Computers to Analyze Fruit-Fly Behavior

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have trained computers to automatically analyze aggression and courtship in fruit flies, opening the way for researchers to perform large-scale, high-throughput screens for genes that control these innate behaviors.

Caltech Researchers Find Tiny Genetic Change Keeps Nicotine from Binding to Muscle Cells

A tiny genetic mutation is the key to understanding why nicotine--which binds to brain receptors with such addictive potency--is virtually powerless in muscle cells that are studded with the same type of receptor. That's according to California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers, who report their findings in the March 26 issue of the journal Nature.

Caltech Scientists Discover Mechanism for Wind Detection in Fruit Flies

Tiny, lightweight fruit flies need to know when it's windy out so they can steady themselves and avoid being knocked off their feet or blown off course. But how do they figure out that it's time to hunker down? Flies have evolved a specialized population of neurons in their antennae that let them know not only when the wind is blowing, but also the direction from which it is coming.

Caltech Biologists Find Optimistic Worms Are Ready for Rapid Recovery

For the tiny soil-dwelling nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, life is usually a situation of feast or famine. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have found that this worm has evolved a surprisingly optimistic genetic strategy to cope with these disparate conditions--one that could eventually point the way to new treatments for a host of human diseases caused by parasitic worms.

Caltech Scientists Find Evidence for Precise Communication Across Brain Areas During Sleep

By listening in on the chatter between neurons in various parts of the brain, researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have taken steps toward fully understanding just how memories are formed, transferred, and ultimately stored in the brain--and how that process varies throughout the various stages of sleep. 

Caltech Researchers Help Unlock the Secrets of Gene Regulatory Networks

A quartet of studies by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) highlight a special feature on gene regulatory networks recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Three Caltech Scientists Receive Ellison Medical Foundation Awards

The Ellison Medical Foundation (EMF) has awarded Senior Scholar Awards of nearly $1 million each to three California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers for exploratory projects in the molecular biology of aging processes and age-related diseases.

Caltech Researchers Get First Look at How Groups of Cells Coordinate Their Movements

Using novel imaging, labeling, and data-analysis techniques, scientists from Caltech have been able to visualize, for the first time, large numbers of cells moving en masse during some of the earliest stages of embryonic development. The findings not only provide insight into this stage of development--called gastrulation--but give a more general glimpse at how a living organism choreographs the motions of thousands of cells at one time.

Caltech Scientists Show Function of Helical Band in Heart

Scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created images of the heart's muscular layer that show, for the first time, the connection between the configuration of those muscles and the way the human heart contracts. More precisely, they showed that the muscular band--which wraps around the inner chambers of the heart in a helix--is actually a sort of twisting highway along which each contraction of the heart travels.

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