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Antonio Rangel Pinpoints the Mechanisms of Self-Control in the Brain

04-30-09

Caltech Researchers Pinpoint the Mechanisms of Self-Control in the Brain. Study of dieters shows how two brain areas interact in people with the willpower to say no to unhealthy foods. "A very basic question in economics, psychology, and even religion, is why some people can exercise self-control but others cannot," notes Antonio Rangel, a Caltech Associate Professor of Economics and the paper's principal investigator. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights Antonio Rangel

Pietro Perona Trains Computers to Analyze Fruit-Fly Behavior

04-08-09

Researchers led by Pietro Perona, the Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering, and David J. Anderson, the Roger W. Sperry Professor of Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, have trained computers to automatically analyze aggression and courtship in fruit flies, opening the way for researchers to perform large-scale, high-throughput screens for genes that control these innate behaviors. The program allows computers to examine half an hour of video footage of pairs of interacting flies in what is almost real time; characterizing the behavior of a new line of flies "by hand" might take a biologist more than 100 hours. "This is a coming-of-age moment in this field," says Perona. "By choosing among existing machine vision techniques, we were able to put together a system that is much more capable than anything that had been demonstrated before." This work is detailed in the April issue of Nature Methods. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights Pietro Perona

Ali Hajimiri Awarded $6 Million to Develop Self-Healing Circuits

04-08-09

Over the past few decades, the transistors in computer chips have become progressively smaller and faster, allowing upwards of a billion individual transistors to be packed into a single circuit, thus shrinking the size of electronic devices. But these circuits have an intractable design flaw: if just a single transistor fails, the entire circuit also fails. One novel way around the problem is a so-called self-healing circuit. Such circuits are "inspired by biological systems that constantly heal themselves in the presence of random and intentional failures," says Caltech professor Ali Hajimiri.

Tags: EE research highlights MedE Ali Hajimiri

Sander Weinreb Awarded Grote Reber Medal

08-18-08

The 2008 Grote Reber Medal for lifetime innovative contributions to radio astronomy has been awarded to Sander Weinreb, Faculty Associate in Electrical Engineering. Weinreb is being honoured for his pioneering developments of novel techniques and instrumentation over nearly half a century which have helped to define modern radio astronomy.

Tags: EE honors research highlights Sander Weinreb

Changhuei Yang Develops "Microscope on a Chip"

07-28-08

Changhuei Yang, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, and colleagues have turned science fiction into reality with their development of a super-compact high-resolution microscope, small enough to fit on a finger tip. This "microscopic microscope" operates without lenses but has the magnifyingpower of a top-quality optical microscope, can be used in the field to analyze blood samples for malaria or check water supplies for giardia and other pathogens, and can be mass-produced for around $10. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights Changhuei Yang MedE health

Melissa Saenz and Christof Koch Show that Sight Recovery After Blindness Offers New Insights on Brain Reorganization

05-29-08

Studies of the brains of blind persons whose sight was partially restored later in life have produced a compelling example of the brain's ability to adapt to new circumstances and rewire and reconfigure itself. The research, conducted by postdoctoral researcher Melissa Saenz along with Christof Koch, the Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology and professor of computation and neural systems, and their colleagues, shows that the part of the brain that processes visual information in normal individuals can be co-opted to respond to both visual and auditory information. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health Christof Koch postdocs

Athanassios Siapas and Evgueniy Lubenov Reveal the Driving Factor in the Brain's Self-regulation

04-18-08

Using computer models of neuronal circuits and experiments on live rats, Athanassios Siapas, Assistant Professor of Computation and Neural Systems, and his postdoctoral researcher Evgueniy Lubenov are revealing the curious mechanism by which the brain spontaneously tips itself toward a state balanced between order and chaos. The driving factor in the brain's self-regulation, they say, is the timing of neural pulses. "Networks self-organize to an intermediate state, in between the two extremes," Siapas says.

Tags: EE research highlights health Athanassios Siapas postdocs

 
Gordon Moore and Carver Mead Discuss Electronics Revolution

03-27-08

Gordon Moore (PhD '54) and Carver Mead (BS '56, MS '57, PhD '60), Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, chat about the electronics revolution (posted on You Tube in late 2007, conversation begins about 19 minutes into the clip).

Tags: EE research highlights Carver Mead Gordon Moore

Christof Koch and Colleagues Find Pupil Dilation Marks Decision Making

02-12-08

Christof Koch, the Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology and Professor of Computation and Neural Systems, and his colleagues, have found that changes in pupil diameter correspond to the moment when a simple decision is made. The pupil, which is about 2 mm wide in bright light, dilated by as much as 1 mm at that moment--a change that, in theory, could be noticeable to a casual observer. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: EE research highlights health Christof Koch