Success Stories

3-D Dentistry

Although dentistry has come a long way since the time when decayed teeth were extracted by brute force, most dentists are still using the clumsy, time-consuming, and imperfect impression method when making crowns or bridges. But that process could soon go the way of general anesthesia in family dentistry thanks to a 3-D imaging device developed by Mory Gharib, Caltech vice provost and Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and professor of bioinspired engineering. Read more

Finding Cancer's Achilles' Heel

For much of his research career, Ray Deshaies, Caltech professor of biology, has been interested in what he calls the cellular garbage disposal system of the body. In this self-cleansing process, proteins are eliminated either when they become damaged or in response to particular cellular signals. Read more

Leading the Evolution of Green, Affordable Fuels

In 2004, Frances Arnold had just finished a talk on synthetic biology—a method to build new biological systems or improve existing ones using man-made DNA or other synthesized molecules—when Vinod Khosla raised his hand to ask a question.

Khosla, a cofounder of Sun Microsystems and one of the world's leading venture capitalists, asked Arnold if synthetic biology had any useful purpose. Read more.

Disease Diagnosis at the Touch of a Button

When viruses like HIV/AIDS strike in underdeveloped regions of the world, they often quickly spiral out of control because there is no easy way to bring diagnostic equipment to remote areas so that the diseases can be identified, treated, and stopped before they can spread. Now, an inexpensive, portable, easy-to-use device built by a team of Caltech engineers and biologists, promises to speed the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and other diseases—and improve treatment—in even the most far-flung corners of the world. Read more

Building a Practice of Predictive Medicine

One goal of modern, personalized medicine is to find signs of diseases early enough to treat them before they rage out of control.

Integrated Diagnostics Inc. (Indi)—which was formed using in-licensed patents and patent applications from both Caltech and the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB)—is working to identify diseases at their earliest stages, before a patient has symptoms or realizes there is an illness. Indi is changing the practice of medicine from a reactive one in which diseases are treated only when they are full-blown, to a predictive one that allows for successful early treatment. Read more

Industry's Secret Ingredient

If you could bake a chocolate cake without baking soda, sugar, and a few other ingredients and have it come out perfectly after only five minutes in the oven, then you'd have some idea of what Materia Inc. is about. Instead of food ingredients, however, its focus is on catalysts. So while the company can't assist in the kitchen—at least not yet—its big innovation, for which Professor Grubbs of Caltech won a Nobel Prize, has resulted in speeding up and lowering the cost of a lot of multistep industrial processes. Read more

Improving Satellite Communications

Caltech investigators on the forefront of research are typically driven first by discovery, but when commercial opportunities present themselves, they quickly take advantage of them. For Dave Rutledge, the Kiyo and Eiko Tomiyasu Professor of Electrical Engineering, the application appeared almost simultaneously with the discovery.

In 1980, having just received a PhD from Berkeley, Rutledge came to Caltech as an assistant professor of electrical engineering and soon discovered an application for his thesis project, which involved antennas and optically-coupled radio detectors. Read more