Issue 8: April 2019

To Your Health

This issue of The Caltech Effect features researchers who forge divergent paths to medical breakthroughs.

On the cover are microbes, an organic compound, an anatomical feature, and medical instruments that relate to the stories in this issue. Clockwise from top left: Zika virus, MRSA bacterium, biosensor electrode array, SlipChip (microfluidic device), E. coli bacterium, neural activity in the brain, human immunodeficiency virus, lactic acid, and (center) microfluidic-based sweat patch.


Story + Photos

First Line of Defense

“Antibiotics are a pillar of civilization,” says Rustem Ismagilov, Caltech’s Ethel Wilson Bowles and Robert Bowles Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. “But humanity completely misuses them.”

Four members of Ismagilov’s laboratory explain how their research could help solve the problem.

Story + Demos

Sweating the Small Stuff

Assistant professor of medical engineering Wei Gao is enriching the field of personalized and precision medicine with an abundant source of chemical data: sweat.


This Is Your Brain on Fear

Dean Mobbs, assistant professor of cognitive neuroscience and affiliated faculty member of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech, uses fMRI technology in the Caltech Brain Imaging Center to learn what happens in the brain when people feel threatened. New knowledge about these neural circuits could lead to new treatments for conditions such as PTSD and anxiety and panic disorders. Mobbs draws inspiration for his experiments from an unlikely source: horror movies.

Inside Look

Better than Nature

Caltech’s Pamela Bjorkman uses leading-edge technologies to view biological structures at the molecular level. Her discoveries plot the course to an HIV vaccine that may protect against the pandemic.


Science in 60 Seconds

Scholars across disciplines explain their health-related research.

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Jessica Wang (Class of 2019)

Division of Biology and Biological Engineering
Jessica Wang describes T-cell therapy research under way in the laboratory of David Baltimore.

Francois Tissot, Assistant Professor of Geochemistry

Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Francois Tissot’s investigations into how the solar system was formed are not entirely separate from his cancer research. He explains the connection.

Jinglin Huang, Graduate Student

Division of Engineering and Applied Science
Jinglin Huang shares an example of how patients can benefit from fundamental discoveries in fluid mechanics. She works in the lab of Morteza Gharib.

Jade Livingston (Class of 2020)

Division of Biology and Biological Engineering
Jade Livingston explains research on opportunistic pathogens that is taking place in the laboratory of Dianne Newman.

Ewa Rej, Troesh Postdoctoral Scholar

Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Ewa Rej elucidates her work with Michael Roukes on nanodevices to tackle fundamental challenges in medicine.