News

Scientists Create New Process to "Program" Cancer Cell Death

09-10-10

Niles A. Pierce, Associate Professor of Applied & Computational Mathematics and Bioengineering, and colleagues have engineered a fundamentally new approach to killing cancer cells. The process uses small RNA molecules that can be programmed to attack only specific cancer cells; then, by changing shape, those molecules cause the cancer cells to self-destruct. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights health CMS Niles Pierce

Keenan Crane has Received a 2010 Google PhD Fellowship

07-21-10

Keenan M. Crane, a graduate student in Computing and Mathematical Sciences, has received a 2010 Google PhD Fellowship for his research in computer graphics. He is one of only 15 winners in the United States and Canada. The Google Fellowship program supports innovative university research in computer science.

Tags: research highlights CMS Keenan Crane

Molecules that Behave Like Robots

05-12-10

Erik Winfree, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering, and colleagues from Columbia University, Arizona State University, and the University of Michigan have programmed an autonomous molecular "robot" made out of DNA to start, move, turn, and stop while following a DNA track. The development could ultimately lead to molecular systems that might one day be used for medical therapeutic devices and molecular-scale reconfigurable robots—robots made of many simple units that can reposition or even rebuild themselves to accomplish different tasks. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights CMS Erik Winfree

DNA Origami Nanoscale Breadboards for Carbon Nanotube Circuits

11-10-09

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. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights CMS Erik Winfree William Goddard Paul Rothemund Si-ping Han

Oskar Painter and Kerry Vahala Trap Light and Sound Vibrations Together in Nanocrystal

10-26-09

Oskar Painter, Associate Professor of Applied Physics, and Kerry J. Vahala Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Professor of Applied Physics; Director, The Lee Center for Advanced Networking have created a nanoscale crystal device that, for the first time, allows scientists to confine both light and sound vibrations in the same tiny space. "This novel approach... exemplifies the forward-thinking work being done by the Engineering and Applied Science division," says Ares Rosakis, Chair and Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at Caltech. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: APhMS research highlights CMS Oskar Painter Kerry Vahala

Professor Chandy Has a New Blog Discussing Sense and Respond Systems

09-04-09

Mani Chandy, Simon Ramo Professor and Professor of Computer Science, has a new blog discussing sense and respond systems. Sense and respond systems are employed in diverse applications such as helping disabled people live independently in their own homes, interdicting radiological weapons, and managing a stock portfolio. [View Blog]

Tags: research highlights health CMS Kanianthra Chandy

Erik Winfree Featured in Discover

08-18-09

The 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 Interview]

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Paul Rothemund and Colleagues Use Self-Assembled DNA Scaffolding to Build Tiny Circuit Boards

08-18-09

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]

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John Doyle Discovers the Importance of Fire in Global Climate Change

05-11-09

Scientists 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. [Science Magazine article]

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Erik Winfree Controls Complex Nucleation Processes using DNA Origami Seeds

04-08-09

"Flowers, dogs, and just about all biological objects are created from the bottom up," says Erik Winfree, associate professor of computer science, computation and neural systems, and bioengineering at Caltech. Along with his coworkers, Winfree is seeking to integrate bottom-up construction approaches with molecular fabrication processes to construct objects from parts that are just a few billionths of a meter in size that essentially assemble themselves. In a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Winfree and his colleagues describe the development of an information-containing DNA "seed" that can direct the self-assembled bottom-up growth of tiles of DNA in a precisely controlled fashion. In some ways, the process is similar to how the fertilized seeds of plants or animals contain information that directs the growth and development of those organisms. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights health CMS Erik Winfree