Although microelectronics technology has progressed very quickly in the past sixty years, in many ways it is still catching up. Over millions of years, biological systems have evolved exquisite capabilities far beyond those of modern technology. One way to overcome this “technology gap” is to learn from biology. This approach is by no means new, and researchers have pursued this elusive goal in many different ways – by replicating structure, by emulating function, by establishing links, and by studying mechanisms of the natural world. What is different today are the sophisticated tools that we can employ to create hybrid bioelectronic systems and incorporate principles of adaptation into micro- and nano-systems. This talk will discuss several efforts along these lines, including sensors that directly monitor the responses of living cells and also circuits that automatically adjust their characteristics to improve performance. I’ll highlight some directions and remaining challenges in the path ahead, as well as novel applications that are made possible by these advances.
Dr. Abshire is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 2001, and is an expert in low power mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs), adaptive ICs and IC sensors, and CMOS biosensors. Her research focuses on better understanding and exploiting the tradeoffs between performance and resources in natural and engineered systems, including hybrid devices incorporating CMOS, MEMS, optoelectronics, microfluidics, and biological components. She has developed sensors and signal processing circuitry for a variety of applications, including cell-based sensing, high performance imaging, miniature robotics, spike sorting, adaptive data conversion, and closed loop control of MEMS and microfluidic systems. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award (2003), the Corcoran Award for significant contributions to Electrical and Computer Engineering education (2004), the Robert E. Kent Teaching Award (2011), the Jimmy H. C. Lin Award for Entrepreneurship (2011), and was named the outstanding faculty member of the Institute for Systems Research (2006). She currently serves on the Emerging Technologies and Research Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Commerce, on the IEEE Sensors Council, and as the Chair of the Women in Circuits and Systems Committee for the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society.
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