The Kavli Foundation
Summer  2015
Dedicated to the advancement of science for the benefit of humanity, The Kavli Foundation supports scientific research, honors scientific achievement, and promotes public understanding of scientists and their work. For more information, visit:
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The Microbiome: A Special Series
Scientists are beginning to realize the critical role of the human microbiome - the trillions of microorganisms that inhabit our bodies - in health and disease. They are also discovering that microbiomes exist in every niche on Earth, including its hottest deserts and coldest oceans, where they are just as important to the well-being of those ecosystems. In a three-part series, The Kavli Foundation explored what neuroscientists, nanoscientists and astrobiologists have learned about the microbiome, and where this burgeoning new field is leading.   

The Mind-bending Power of Bacteria
How do microbes communicate with the brain, and can we can modify the microbiome to treat brain disorders? Tracy Bale (University of Pennsylvania), Christopher Lowry (University of Colorado Boulder) and Sarkis Mazmanian (California Institute of Technology) answer those questions and more in a roundtable discussion. Read more 

SPOTLIGHT LIVE: The Microbiome & the Brain: A New State of Mind

Christopher Lowry (University of Colorado Boulder) discusses new research on the powerful gut-brain connection.  




Nature's Many Microbiomes

The Earth is home to more than 50 million different species of microbes. We know very little about most of them. Fortunately, nanoscience is beginning to help us learn what the different members of the Earth's microbiomes do and how they interact, say Eoin Brodie (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley) and Jack A. Gilbert (University of Chicago). Read more  


SPOTLIGHT LIVE: Learning from Earth's Smallest Ecosystems

Eoin Brodie (University of California, Berkeley) and Jack A. Gilbert (University of Chicago) discuss how nanoscience is unlocking the mysteries of the microbiome. 




How to Search for Life on Other Worlds

Steven Benner (Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution), Jocelyne DiRuggiero (Johns Hopkins University) and Christopher McKay (NASA Ames Research Center) discuss how the Earth's most tenacious microbes, and the extreme places they inhabit, are assisting the search for extraterrestrial life. Read more 


SPOTLIGHT LIVE: Microbes and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Jocelyne DiRuggiero (Johns Hopkins University) and Christopher McKay (NASA Ames Research Center) discuss microbes, life-seeking robots, Mars and how they're all connected. 

Historic AAAS Kavli Competition Expands to Honor Excellence in Science Journalism Worldwide
This spring, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced a global expansion of its historic science journalism awards program. For the first time, the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards program is accepting entries from reporters working worldwide. A doubling of the program endowment will also allow AAAS to bestow 16 instead of eight prizes annually.

"By recognizing the world's best science news-reporting, AAAS and The Kavli Foundation are working to build a culture of respect for the value of science journalism to society, while promoting public understanding of science more broadly," said AAAS CEO Rush Holt, executive publisher of the Science family of journals. Read more




Kavli Futures Symposium: The Novel Neurotechnologies 

A recent Kavli Futures Symposium brought together top neuroscientists and tech innovators to discuss and envision the next generation of tools for brain research and treatment. In a special feature story, read about this unique meeting and the possibilities ahead as highly interdisciplinary teams of researchers look to the future. Feature story and symposium report 


More Feature Stories

Roundtable Discussion: The Future of Neurotechnology


Neuroscientists Rafael Yuste, Ken Shepard, Liam Paninski and Darcy Peterka (KIBS) - the organizers of the Kavli Futures Symposium: The Novel Neurotechnologies - reflect on the major obstacles to mapping the brain and the remarkable new brain research tools that may overcome them.



Dwarf Galaxies Loom Large in the Quest for Dark Matter

The Dark Energy Survey has already turned up at least eight objects that look to be new satellite dwarf galaxies of the Milky Way. Astronomers believe the vast majority of material in these miniature galaxies is dark matter. In May, The Kavli Foundation spoke with astrophysicists Josh Frieman (KICP), Alex Drlica-Wagner (KICP) and Andrea Albert (KIPAC) about the continuing search for dark matter data in space and how dwarf galaxies can help us understand the evolution of our universe. Read more   


Delving Into the 'Dark Universe' with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope 

On April 14, 2015, scientists and diplomats laid the first stone for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), an ambitious international astrophysics project slated to start scanning the heavens in 2022. When it does, LSST should open up the "dark universe" of dark matter and dark energy as never before. Steven Kahn (KIPAC), Sarah Bridle (The University of Manchester) and Hitoshi Murayama (Kavli IPMU) speak about how LSST's sweeping search for dark matter and dark energy will answer fundamental questions about the universe's makeup. Read more  


More Feature Stories

Roundtable Discussion: Planck Space Telescope Brings Early Universe into Focus

Recently, two high-profile experiments released new data and analyses of the cosmic microwave background that seem to support the theory of cosmic inflation. George Efstathiou (KICC), Clement Pryke (University of Minnesota) and Paul Steinhardt (Princeton University) discuss what the latest results mean for the theory of inflation and what we can soon expect to learn about the very early universe.   



Looking Back in Time - Oldest Light in Existence Offers Insights into the Universe with George Efstathiou (KICC), Clement Pryke (University of Minnesota) and Paul Steinhardt (Princeton University).



Unnatural Selection: New Materials & Unusual Properties by Design 

By changing the nanoscale structure of materials, researchers have created invisibility cloaks and microscopes with unprecedented resolution. Three leaders in these new metamaterials, Julia R. Greer (KNI), David Smith (Duke University) and Xiang Zhang (Kavli ENSI)

explain how this is possible and what may come next. Read more   


THEORETICAL PHYSICS                                                  

The Nose Knows: How an International Collaboration Is Helping Resolve Questions About the Sense of Smell   


Greg Huber, Anne-Marie Oswald and Venkatesh Murthy
KITP Deputy Director Greg Huber, neuroscientists Anne-Marie Oswald and Venkatesh Murthy. Photo Credit: Matt Perko
An international team of experimental and theoretical neuroscientists came together to discuss the chemical, molecular, cellular, circuit and systems mechanisms that underlie neural and behavioral responses to odors. Their goal: to explore organizing principles behind the sense of smell. Read more



Theoretical Physics News

Special Series on the Microbiome
AAAS Kavli Journalism Awards Expands
Neuroscience News
Astrophysics News
Nanoscience News
Theoretical Physics News
Community News

Community News


Kavli Nanoscience Institute at the California Institute of Technology (KNI) Oskar Painter has joined Nai-Chang Yeh as co-director. ...Harry Atwater was one of six professors from Caltech to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering. ...Board member Axel Scherer was elected to the National Academy of Inventors for his work on systems for medical diagnosis and health monitoring through

molecular pathology and wireless implants.    


 Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge (KICC)
Director George Efstathiou was awarded the Hughes Medal for his many outstanding contributions to our understanding of the early Universe; in particular his pioneering computer simulations, observations of galaxy clustering and studies of the fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background. ...Amaury Triaud has been awarded the Kavli Exoplanet Fellowship, which will begin in November. His research focuses on understanding the diversity of exoplanets.


Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago (KICP) Deputy Director John Carlstrom was one of this year's recipients of the Gruber Prize in Cosmology, which he received for his pioneering work on the cosmic microwave background. The Gruber Prizes in Cosmology, Genetics and Neuroscience recognize researchers whose groundbreaking work inspires and enables fundamental shifts in knowledge and culture.


 Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale University (KIN)
Director Pasko Rakic was elected to the Academia Europaea "in recognition of his international scholarship and sustained contribution to European research." ...Ralph J. Dileone was among 23 individuals elected to the Connecticut Academy
of Science and Engineering. Members of the academy are considered Connecticut's leading experts in science, engineering and technology. ...Steering Committee member Richard Lifton was appointed co-chair of the NIH working group for President Obama's new Precision Medicine Initiative. 


Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo (Kavli IPMU) Project Professor Ken'ichi Nomoto was named a recipient of the 2015 Marcel Grossmann Award for his pioneering work in uncovering the role of binary systems in the evolution of massive stars. ...Yukinobu Toda, a project associate professor, shared the 11th JSPS Prize, which recognizes and supports young scientists who have performed significant work in the humanities, social sciences or natural sciences. ...Eiichiro Komatsu, affiliate member, received the 2014 Chushiro Hayashi Prize, awarded to a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to astrophysics or astronomy. ...Two affiliate members, 

Tsuyoshi Nakaya and Masato Shiozawa, were awarded the 6th Yoji Totsuka Prize in recognition of researchers with distinguished achievements in the fields of experimental and theoretical particle physics, especially in the area of neutrino and non-accelerator physics. ...Toshiyuki Kobayashi, principal investigator, received the 2015 Journal of the Mathematical Society of Japan (JMSJ) Outstanding Paper Prize, which is given to the authors of the most outstanding articles published in JMSJ each year.

MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI) In June, MKI held an anniversary celebration and symposium to mark its first ten years. Among those joining MKI Director Jacqueline Hewitt:  Kavli Institute Directors Tom Abel (KIPAC) and Michael Turner (KICP). ...John W. Belcher received the 2015 Hans Christian Oersted Medal. Awarded by the American Association of Physics Teachers, Belcher was honored for his innovative work developing a teaching format known as technology-enabled active learning. He also received an MIT Excellence Award under the category Advancing Inclusion and Global Perspectives. The MIT Excellence Awards are among the highest honors awarded to MIT staff. 


Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC)  Becky Canning was awarded an Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship, sponsored by NASA and given to recent PhDs in astronomy, physics, and related disciplines. ...Postdoc Yashar Hezaveh was named a Hubble Fellow by NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute, which support research relevant to NASA's Cosmic Origins program. ...The Nicholas Metropolis Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Work in Computational Physics was awarded to postdoc Will East by the American Physical Society. The award recognizes doctoral thesis research of "outstanding quality and achievement in computational physics."
Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science (KIC) The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has named Director Paul McEuen among its 197 new fellows for 2015. Fellows are among the world's most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists and civic, business and philanthropic leaders. ...An NSF grant was awarded to an interdisciplinary team led by Lena F. Kourkoutis, which will fund "a first-of-its-kind electron microscope" to study materials at atomic resolution. ...Jiwoong Park has received a Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative award to create "atomically thin systems that unfold, interact and communicate at the cellular scale." ...Lei Wang, Long Ju and Marc Miskin have recently joined KIC as postdocs.

Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute (Kavli ENSI) Along with KIC's Paul McEuen, Carlos Bustamante was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Eli Yablonovitch received the 2015 Isaac Newton Medal from the Institute of Physics in recognition of his "visionary and foundational contributions to photonic nanostructures." ...Naomi Ginsberg was one of nine early career UC Berkeley faculty to receive a 2015 Sloan Research Fellowship in support of "rising stars and the next generation of scientific leaders."

Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP)
Three former postdocs, Sean Hartnoll (Stanford University), Shinsei Ryu (University of Illinois) and Tadashi Takayanagi (Kyoto University), received 2015 New Horizons in Physics Prizes for work they each began at KITP. Awarded by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, the prizes aim
"to celebrate scientists and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career."...Iair Arcavi, a joint postdoctoral scholar at KITP and the Las Cumbres Observational Global Telescope, is the recipient of the 2015 Harvey L. Karp Discovery Award in support of exceptional early career postdocs in UCSB's Division of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences. 

Kavli Institute for Brain Science (KIBS) Ann Kennedy, a doctoral student in the lab of Larry Abbott, received the 2014-15 Kavli Award for Distinguished Research in Neuroscience. Presented annually by KIBS, the award recognizes the best doctoral dissertation in the neural sciences. Kennedy's research focused on modeling the sensory system in the fruit fly and electric fish.