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.
Michael Dickinson Named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Michael Dickinson, Esther M. and Abe M. Zarem Professor of Bioengineering, is among the 190 new Fellows elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year. Dickinson studies animal physiology and behavior and has become well known for Robofly, a mechanical fly that sprang from his work on the neurobiology and biomechanics of fly locomotion. Throughout his career, Dickinson has used a variety of tools, such as wind tunnels, virtual reality simulators, high-speed video, and giant robotic models, to determine how the poppy seed-sized brains of these tiny insects can rapidly control aerodynamic forces. More than a simple understanding of the material basis for insect flight, Dickinson's studies provide insight into complex systems operating on biological and physical principles: neuronal signaling within brains, the dynamics of unsteady fluid flow, the structural mechanics of composite materials, and the behavior of nonlinear systems are all linked when a fly takes wing. [Caltech Press Release].
John Dabiri and Joel Tropp Win ONR Young Investigator Awards
Two EAS faculty have won ONR Young Investigator Awards: John Dabiri, Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering, and Joel Tropp, Assistant Professor of Appliedand Computational Mathematics. The objectives of the Young Investigator Program are to attract to naval research outstanding new faculty members, to support their research, and to encourage their teaching and research careers. Tropp's award is for his research into "Compressive Signal Processing - Theory and Algorithms"; and Dabiri's award is for work in "Optimal Propulsion Methodologies for Hybrid Screw-based, Bio-inspired Systems". ONR announced 27 new awards for 2008.
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.
Christopher Brennen Awarded ISROMAC Award
Christopher Brennen, the Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering, delivered the plenary opening lecture at the Twelfth International Symposium on Transport Phenomena and Dynamics of Rotating Machinery in February. After, he was awarded the organization's ISROMAC Award in recognition of "his outstanding research contributions in the area of cavitation and hydrodynamics in rotating machinery."