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Caltech Associates Guests Discover How to Engineer Molecules

David Glackin, Dr. Christina Smolke, and Nora and Ariel Hazi enjoy the reception before the Caltech Associates dinner lecture

David Glackin, Dr. Christina Smolke, and Nora and Ariel Hazi enjoy the reception before the Caltech Associates dinner lecture

Pasadena, Calif.—Sixty-Five guests gathered at the Athenaeum, the beautiful faculty club associated with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), for a Caltech Associates dinner lecture to learn about engineering biological molecules to program living cell behavior from Dr. Christina Smolke, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Caltech.

Smolke's research involves understanding how cells respond to their environment and how scientists can tap into that knowledge to make the cells change their function. She builds cells that will eventually become programmable within the body to recognize specific cancer cells and remove them from the body or construct molecules that can attack only diseased cells.

The major focus of Smolke’s lab is studying the bioactive properties of RNA as well as engineering biological circuits made of proteins and RNA for applications in metabolic engineering and medical research for developing effective therapies and treatments for cancer and disease.

"Professor Smolke is one of Caltech's rising young stars in engineering. She gave an exciting lecture on her groundbreaking research in engineering RNA related molecules to communicate with living cells,” said Fred Blum, a member of the Associates and a Board of Directors member.

“I enjoy attending the Caltech Associates dinners because the talks are always interesting and involve the most cutting edge research that Caltech is doing,” said Blum. “It’s also a privilege to meet the other Associates members and discuss what we have learned.

Members of the Caltech Associates have the opportunity to attend events and lectures like the Associates dinner with Dr. Christina Smolke. Not only do they get the chance to learn about the research being performed at Caltech, but they get to interact with other individuals interested in learning and many times with the students who work in the laboratories.

Three of Smolke’s graduate students, Yvonne Chen, Leo d’Espaux, and Maung Nyan Win, were able to participate in the Caltech Associates dinner. Hosted by members of the Associates, the students joined dinner guests and discussed their specific research at the tables. The members of the Associates are always interested in engaging with Caltech students and faculty and the Associates dinners allow that opportunity.

To learn more about the Caltech Associates, and how you can attend an event or lecture please visit http://associates.caltech.edu/ or contact at 626-395-3919.

The Associates of the
California Institute of Technology
M/C 5-32
1200 E. California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91125
Contact: Julia J. Cody
(626) 395-2926
jcody@dar.caltech.edu
http://associates.caltech.edu

About the Associates: Founded in 1926, the Associates is a support organization for the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with over 1,475 members throughout the United States and abroad - a diverse cross section of members of the local & business community, Caltech alumni and faculty, and philanthropists.

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