Biologists Uncover New Details of How Neural Crest Forms in the Early Embryonic Stages

There's a time soon after conception when the stem cells in a tiny area of the embryo called the neural crest are working overtime to build such structures as the dorsal root ganglia, various neurons of the nervous system, and the bones and cartilage of the skull. If things go wrong at this stage, deformities such as cleft palates can occur.

Watson Lecture: Modeling Mental Illness

Several landmark discoveries over the past two years have linked the immune system with schizophrenia and also with autism. These findings provide support for a new mouse model of mental illness in which the activation of a pregnant mother's immune system alters the brain development and behavior of her offspring.

Aerospace Engineers and Biologists Solve Long-Standing Heart Development Mystery

An engineer comparing the human adult heart and the embryo heart might never guess that the former developed from the latter. While the adult heart is a fist-shaped organ with chambers and valves, the embryo heart looks more like tube attached to smaller tubes. Physicians and researchers have assumed for years, in fact, that the embryonic heart pumps through peristaltic movements, much as material flows through the digestive system.

Two from Caltech Faculty Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Two faculty members at the California Institute of Technology are among this year's newly elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. They join 173 other Americans and 20 foreign honorees as the 2006 class of fellows of the prestigious institution that was cofounded in 1780 by John Adams.

Benzer Receives $500,000 Albany Medical Center Prize

Seymour Benzer, a California Institute of Technology neuroscientist, molecular biologist, and physicist who uncovered genetic links to behavior in fruit flies that today serve as the foundation for the study and treatment of human neurological diseases, has been named the recipient of the $500,000 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research.

McDonnell Foundation Grant Will Be Used to Study Neurons Involved in Snap Decisions

Where do you get your "gut feelings," that intuition that leads you to distrust someone who appears trustworthy? It could be your Von Economo brain cells in action, and a neurobiologist at the California Institute of Technology intends to find out for sure.

Caltech Receives $2.3 Million for Stem Cell Research

The California Institute of Technology has been awarded $2.3 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to support 10 postdoctoral scholars in the Caltech Stem Cell Biology Training Program.

Researchers Determine How Plants Decide Where to Position Their Leaves and Flowers

One of the quests of modern biologists is to understand how cells talk to each other in order to determine where to form major organs. An international team of biologists has solved a part of this puzzle by combining state-of-the-art imaging and mathematical modeling to reveal how plants go about positioning their leaves and flowers.

Neuroscientists Discover the Neurons That Act As Novelty Detectors in the Human Brain

By studying epileptic patients awaiting brain surgery, neuroscientists for the first time have located single neurons that are involved in recognizing whether a stimulus is new or old. The discovery demonstrates that the human brain not only has neurons for processing new information never seen before, but also neurons to recognize old information that has been seen just once.

Caltech Scientists Discover the Part of the Brain That Causes Some People to Be Lousy in Math

Most everyone knows that the term "dyslexia" refers to people who can't keep words and letters straight. A rarer term is "dyscalculia," which describes someone who is virtually unable to deal with numbers, much less do complicated math.

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