Pietro PeronaThe collaboration of Pietro Perona, Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering, Michael Dickinson Esther M. and Abe M. Zarem Professor of Bioengineering, and David J. Anderson, Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, is highlighted in a Nature article entitled Flies on film. [pdf] 12.02.09

Hareem T. Maune, a graduate student studying carbon nanotube physics, and Si-ping Han, a graduate student investigating the interactions between carbon nanotubes and DNA, have developed DNA origami nanoscale breadboards for carbon nanotube circuits. "This collaborative research project is evidence of how we at Caltech select the top students in science and engineering and place them in an environment where their creativity and imagination can thrive," says Ares Rosakis, chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. The work of these students was supervised by: Erik Winfree, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering; William A. Goddard III, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics; Paul W.K. Rothemund, Senior Research Associate, and Marc Bockrath, Associate Professor of Physics at University of California Riverside. [Read More] 11.10.09

Tracy HoAndrew StrawCongratulations to Tracey Ho, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Andrew D. Straw, Postdoctoral Scholar in Bioengineering for being awarded 2010 Young Investigator Research Program grants by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. They are among only 38 scientists and engineers who will be awarded a total of $14.6 million in grants. [Read Article] 10.29.09

Erik WinfreeThe molecular computational research of Erik Winfree, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering, focuses on understanding how chemical systems can perform information processing and how to program a set of molecules to carry out instructions. This exciting research was recently featured in Discover. [Discover Article] 8.18.09

Dr. Paul Rothemund, Senior Research Associate in Bioengineering, Computer Science, and Computation and Neural Systems, and colleagues have developed a new technique to orient and position self-assembled DNA shapes and patterns--or "DNA origami"--on surfaces that are compatible with today's semiconductor manufacturing equipment. They "have removed a key barrier to the improvement and advancement of computer chips. They accomplished this through the revolutionary approach of combining the building blocks for life with the building blocks for computing," said Professor Ares Rosakis, Chair of Division of Engineering and Applied Science and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering. [Caltech Press Release] 8-18-09

Michael RoukesMichael L. Roukes, Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering; Co-Director, Kavli Nanoscience Institute, and colleague Akshay Naik have created the first nanoscale mass spectrometer. This new technique simplifies and miniaturizes the measurement of the mass of molecules through the use of very tiny nanoelectromechanical system (NEMS) resonators. Askshay Naik explains, "the frequency at which the resonator vibrates is directly proportional to its mass. When a protein lands on the resonator, it causes a decrease in the frequency at which the resonator vibrates and the frequency shift is proportional to the mass of the protein". Professor Roukes points out, "the next generation of instrumentation for the life sciences must enable proteomic analysis with very high throughput. The potential power of our approach is that it is based on semiconductor microelectronics fabrication, which has allowed creation of perhaps mankind's most complex technology." [Caltech Press Release] 7.22.09

John DabiriCongratulations to John Dabiri, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, for having been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This Presidential award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. 7.07.09

Keith SchwabMichael RoukesMatt LaHaye, Keith Schwab, Michael Roukes, and colleagues have developed a new tool to search for quantum effects in ordinary objects. Matt LaHaye is a postdoctoral research scientist working with Michael L. Roukes, a Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering and Codirector of Kavli Nanoscience Institute. "Quantum jumps are, perhaps, the archetypal signature of behavior governed by quantum effects," says Roukes. "To see these requires us to engineer a special kind of interaction between our measurement apparatus and the object being measured. Matt's results establish a practical and really intriguing way to make this happen." [Caltech Press Release] 7.02.09

Michael DickinsonResearch by Michael H. Dickinson, the Zarem Professor of Bioengineering and David Lentink of Wageningen, reveals that, by swirling, maple seeds generate a tornado-like vortex that sits atop the front leading edge of the seeds as they spin slowly to the ground. This leading-edge vortex lowers the air pressure over the upper surface of the maple seed, effectively sucking the wing upward to oppose gravity, giving it a boost. The vortex doubles the lift generated by the seeds compared to nonswirling seeds. "There is enormous interest in the development of micro air vehicles, which, because of their size, must function using the same physical principles employed by small, natural flying devices such as insects and maple seeds," says Dickinson. [Caltech Press Release] 7.02.09

John DoyleScientists Discover Importance of Fire in Global Climate Change. Researchers including John Doyle, Caltech's Braun Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering, Emeritus, have determined that fire must be accounted for as an integral part of climate change. Their research shows that intentional deforestation fires alone contribute up to one-fifth of the human-caused increase in emissions of carbon dioxide. According to the article, increasing numbers of natural wildfires are influencing climate as well. [Read the Science Magazine article] 05.18.09

Niles PierceNiles Pierce, Associate Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Bioengineering, and the Executive Officer for Bioengineering at Caltech, to give Earnest C. Watson Lecture "In Pursuit of Programmable Molecular Technologies" Our bodies contain amazing molecular machines whose function is encoded within the molecules themselves - RNA and protein sequences programmed by evolution to synthesize molecules, haul cargo within our cells, or regulate our development and repair. These remarkable biological proofs-of-principle inspire the emerging field of molecular programming and suggest the possibility of new technologies in which the function of therapeutic drugs and scientific instruments can be programmed at the molecular level. The lecture takes place May 20 at 8:00 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium. 5.18.09