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Ultrasound Can Selectively Kill Cancer Cells


Professor Michael Ortiz and Professor Morteza Gharib are exploring a new technique that could offer a targeted approach to fighting cancer. Low-intensity pulses of ultrasound have been shown to selectively kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. In the past, ultrasound waves have been used as a cancer treatment with high-intensity bursts resulting in killing cancer and normal cells. [Caltech story]

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New Polymer Heart Valve Implanted in First Patient


Professor Morteza Gharib, has designed a new generation of heart valves that are longer-lasting, cost less to manufacture, and are more biocompatible than options that are currently available to patients. One of the new valves has been implanted into a human for the first time. "This is among my proudest moments. Creating something with the potential to save and improve lives is one of the reasons I became an engineer," Gharib says. [Caltech release]

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Professor Gharib Constructs Leonardo da Vinci's Model of Flow


Leonardo da Vinci studied the motion of blood in the human body. He was interested in the heart’s passive, three-cusp aortic valve, which he realized must be operated by the motion of blood. He theorized that vortices curl back to fill the cusps in the flask-shaped constriction at the aorta’s neck. Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering; Booth-Kresa Leadership Chair, Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies; Director, Graduate Aerospace Laboratories; Director, Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies, has used modern imaging techniques to demonstrate the existence of the revolving vortices that Leonardo interpreted as closing the valve. [Nature Article]

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President Rosenbaum Highlights Postdocs as "Unsung Heroes"


In a letter to the Caltech community during National Postdoc Appreciation Week, the Caltech President emphasizes the role this key group plays at the Institute. He stated, “Caltech's mission of world-leading research and education depends crucially on our postdoctoral scholars. Although their time at Caltech may be short, they quickly become vital parts of the Institute's intellectual fabric.” [President’s Letter] [EAS Postdoc Resource Page]

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Dragonfly Larvae Inspire New Designs for Prosthetic Heart Valves


Professor Mory Gharib and postdoctoral researcher Chris Roh (MS '13, PhD '17) have studied the design and control of the jets that dragonfly larvae use to propel themselves to re-design health values. "The current heart valve design is a one-size-fits-all, where no patient-specific design is considered, and this causes many post-transplant complications," Dr. Roh says. "We believe that an intentionally off-centered opening of the heart valve to more closely match the patient's original blood flow will be an important design parameter that can be adjusted based on each patient's heart morphology." [Caltech story]

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Engineers Create Stable Plasma Ring in Open Air


For the first time, Professor Morteza Gharib and colleagues have created a stable ring of plasma in open air using just a stream of water and a crystal plate. The team fired the water jet at surfaces of different textures and found that the smoother the surface, the clearer the structure of the plasma ring. The ring is stable, and as long as the water continues to flow, the ring maintains its shape and size. [Caltech story]

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New App Replaces Ultrasound with Smartphone Camera to Measure Heart Health


Professor Morteza Gharib and colleagues including alumni Derek Rinderknecht (PhD '08), Niema Pahlevan (PhD '13), and Peyman Tavallali (PhD '14) and Caltech visitor in medical engineering Marianne Razavi have demonstrated that the camera on your smartphone can noninvasively provide detailed information about your heart's health. "In a surprisingly short period of time, we were able to move from invention to the collection of validating clinical data," says Professor Gharib. [Caltech story]

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Professor Gharib Receives Rotary Humanitarian STAR Award


Morteza Gharib, Hans W. Liepmann Professor of Aeronautics and Bioinspired Engineering; Director, Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, has received the 2016 Rotary Humanitarian STAR Award from the Rotary Club of Sierra Madre. The award honors outstanding humanitarian achievements in science and technology.

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Your Future is Calling


Professor Morteza Gharib was one of the speakers at a recent symposium celebrating the Caltech–City of Hope Biomedical Research Initiative which provides seed grants to accelerate the development of basic scientific research and its translation into biomedical applications. Professor Gharib’s presentation was focused on measuring the ejection fraction, the fraction of blood that is ejected from the heart with each heartbeat. The group has designed a small piece of hardware that can connect to an iPhone and calculate a patient's ejection fraction—for less than $8. The device, called Vivio, gives comparable results to a cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, the gold standard in the medical industry for measuring heart health. [Caltech story]

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Living—and Giving—the Caltech Dream


In appreciation for the opportunities Caltech afforded him, Professor Mory Gharib along with his wife Shoreh and daughters, Maral and Alma (PhD ’15), have created an endowed fellowship fund to support new generations of Caltech graduate students. “Mory’s story is an inspiration to us all,” says Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum. “Setting the highest scientific standards, searching for technological interventions to better people’s lives, creating community, and serving that community through personal dedication and philanthropy are qualities rarely found in one individual. We are proud to have Mory as a colleague and his family as members of the Caltech family.” [Caltech story]

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