Largest Biochemical Circuit Built Out of Small Synthetic DNA Molecules
Lulu Qian, Senior Postdoctoral Scholar in Bioengineering, and colleagues including Erik Winfree, Professor of Computer Science, Computation and Neural Systems, and Bioengineering, have built the most complex biochemical circuit ever created from scratch made with DNA-based devices in a test tube that are analogous to the electronic transistors on a computer chip."We're trying to borrow the ideas that have had huge success in the electronic world, such as abstract representations of computing operations, programming languages, and compilers, and apply them to the biomolecular world," says Dr. Qian. [Caltech Press Release]
Stimulating Electrode Array Assists Paraplegic Man to Stand and Move Legs Voluntarily
Joel W. Burdick, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, and colleagues including Yu-Chong Tai, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, have used a stimulating electrode array to assist a paralyzed man to stand, step on a treadmill with assistance, and, over time, to regain voluntary movements of his limbs. Using a combination of experimentation, computational models of the array and spinal cord, and machine-learning algorithms, Professor Burdick and his colleagues are now trying to optimize the stimulation pattern to achieve the best effects, and to improve the design of the electrode array. Further advances in the technology should lead to better control of the stepping and standing processes.
Caltech Engineering Ranks High on U.S. News Best Grad Schools List
Caltech continues to rate among America's top graduate engineering programs, according to the 2012 U.S. News & World Report list of the best grad schools. U.S. News surveyed administrators at more than 1,200 programs and 13,000 academics and professionals to determine the rankings, which place Caltech among the top five schools in the country in several engineering programs, including first in Aeronautical Engineering, fourth in Mechanical Engineering, and fifth in Electrical Engineering. Overall, the engineering graduate program was rated seventh in the nation. The program, which is among the nation's smallest, was singled out as being the most selective, admitting only 9 percent of prospective students. "Given our minute size, these rankings are great," said Chair Ares Rosakis.
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