Michael Elowitz Named HHMI Investigator
Michael Elowitz, Assistant Professor of Biology and Applied Physics and a Bren Scholar, has been named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. Elowitz is fundamentally interested in how cells' own genetic circuits dictate what type of cells they become. In work that overturned the steadfastnotion that genes and networks of genes operate in a predictable and fixed fashion, he and his colleagues showed that key properties of the cell, like how actively it turns out different proteins, are intrinsically random. To show that randomness is used to more accurately control the shapes and patterns that make organisms work, Elowitz is turning to larger and more complex animal cells. "I'm grateful to HHMI for the amazing opportunity this appointment presents to focus as much as possible on research. The funds will enable us to explore new directions, especially allowing us to expand approaches we've previously developed primarily in bacteria to mammalian cells." [Caltech Press Release]
Chiara Daraio Wins Richard von Mises Prize
Chiara Daraio, Professor Aeronautics and Applied Physics, has won the 2008 Richard von Mises Prize. This prize is awarded each year by the International Association of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics (GAMM) to a young scientist for exceptional scientific achievements in the field of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics. The prize was awarded at the opening ceremony of the Annual meeting of GAMM in March, in Bremen, Germany.
A New Take on Microbrewing
David Boyd, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, graduate student James Adleman, Demitri Psaltis, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Electrical Engineering, and David Goodwin, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, have crafted the world's tiniest still to concentrate scant amounts of micromolecules for easier detection. This device may help to overcome difficulties in tracking extremely low-abundance molecular biomarkers, which can indicate disease. [Caltech Press Release]
Azita Emami, Julia Greer, and Beverley McKeon Receieve NSF Career Awards
The NSF has announced three NSF CAREER Awards to Caltech faculty so far this year; they have been awarded to: Azita Emami, Assistant Professor of Electrial Engineering, Julia Greer, Assistant Professor of Materials Science, and Beverley McKeon, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics. Emami's award is for her research on "Hybrid Data Communication in Advanced Integrated Systems"; Greer's awared is for "Experimental Investigation of Plasticity at Nano-scale via in-situ Mechanical Deformation"; and McKeon's award is for her research on "Morphing Surfaces for Flow Control". The CAREER program offers NSF's most prestigious awards for junior faculty members. The level and 5-year duration of the awards are designed to enable awardees to develop careers as outstanding teacher-scholars. The minimum CAREER award is $400,000.