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Attractiveness Is Its Own Reward Former postdoctoral scholar at Caltech, Hackjin Kim, along with professors Ralph Adolphs, John O'Doherty, and Shinsuke Shimojo used a novel technique to monitor the activation of two brain regions during decision-making tasks. View press release... 12-03-2007

Welcome New Students! We extend a warm welcome to our new CNS graduate students entering in Fall 2007: Dionysios Barmpoutis, Julien Dubois, Virgil Griffith, Alice Lin, Akram Sadek, Marie Suver, Jonathan Weissman, Peter Welinder.

Caltech Breaks Ground on Annenberg Center The California Institute of Technology will break ground on the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology. Shuki Bruck, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computation and Neural Systems and Electrical Engineering and founding director of IST remarks. View press release... 12-05-2007

Neuroscientists Uncover Brain Region Involved in Voluntary Behavior Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have deciphered the activity of an area of the brain that could one day prove vital in the development of neural prostheses--within-the-brain implants that would translate thought into movement in paralyzed patients. The results of this study were published as the featured article in the November 8 issue of Neuron. Richard A. Andersen, the James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience at Caltech, and his postdoctoral fellow, He Cui, looked in particular at the posterior parietal cortex (PPC), a higher brain region where sensory stimuli are transformed into movement. View press release... 11-14-2007

Documentary Focuses on Caltech Researchers For more than a year, television cameras followed researchers at the California Institute of Technology as they conducted experiments and discussed their work. The groundbreaking work that goes on at Caltech came to the attention of documentary makers at Thirteen/WNET New York, who decided to train their lenses on the stories they thought public television viewers would be fascinated by. Curious episode "Inside the Fly Lab" features CNS faculty Michael Dickinson. Episode"What is Neuroeconomics?" features CNS faculty Steve Quartz and Colin Camerer, who use fMRI to study how emotion and reason do battle in the brain during moral and economic decision making. View press release... 10-01-2007

MacArthur Foundation Names Two New Caltech "Geniuses" Two California Institute of Technology faculty members were named MacArthur Fellows today, each winning a five-year, $500,000 grant awarded to creative, original individuals that is often referred to as the "genius grant." Michael Elowitz, Bren Scholar and assistant professor of biology and applied physics, and Paul W. Rothemund, a senior research fellow in computation and neural systems and computer science, are two of 24 MacArthur Fellows honored today. View press release... 09-25-2007

Two Nicotine Addiction Puzzles Explained Researchers have known for decades that chronic exposure to nicotine increases the number of nicotine receptors--molecules that are activated by binding to the drug--on nerve cells. The binding of nicotine to these receptors, and in particular to one specific subunit known as alpha4, enhances the release of a pleasure-causing neurotransmitter called dopamine. But "this increase is confusing," says Henry A. Lester. View press release... 08-01-2007

Caltech Scientists Create Breakthrough Sensor Capable of Detecting Individual Molecules Applied physicists at the California Institute of Technology have figured out a way to detect single biological molecules with a microscopic optical device. The method has already proven effective for detecting the signaling proteins called cytokines that indicate the function of the immune system, and it could be used in numerous medical applications, such as the extremely early detection of cancer and other diseases, as well as in basic biological research. Scott Fraser, the Rosen Professor of Biology, professor of bioengineering, and collaborator on the project, explains further that "this technology should lead to many applications for biological experiments, medical tests, and even medical treatments. The advantages are its ability to detect extremely small numbers of molecules, and the fact that there's no need to label target molecules. At this sensitivity level, it is possible even to study growth factors being emitted in real time from a single cell." Fraser adds, "This is the only sensor that currently has the requisite sensitivity and rapidity." View press release... 07-05-2007

Three Caltech Faculty Members Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences This year's new Caltech inductees are John Henry Schwarz, the Harold Brown Professor of Theoretical Physics; Christof Koch, the Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology and professor of computation and neural systems; and Michael Ortiz, the Dotty and Dick Hayman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering. Their election brings the total number of fellows at Caltech to 86. View press release... 05-01-2007

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