Biomedical Electronics Lab Vision
In the fifty years since the invention of integrated circuits, optimizations to increase the computing power of these devices have shrunk the size of transistors to gate lengths less than 100nm, increased the number of transistors per chip to up to the hundreds of millions, and increased the operating speed of transistors to over 100 GHz. These advances have made integrated circuits a powerful technology for biomedical instrumentation. Sensor and actuator elements smaller than the cells with which they interface can be built out of multiple miniature transistors. Millions of these sensors can then be combined and individually addressed in the same way memory works in a computer.
In addition to using direct electrical interactions between silicon and cells, the Biomedical Electronics Lab (BEL) leverages recent advances in biology and chemistry using fluorescence based sensors. Biologists have developed and continue to develop genetically engineered animals that express any of a number of fluorescent proteins in a subset of the animals cells. At the same time, chemists are developing fluorescence probes that can be injected into wild-type animals to label proteins or enzyme activity. We are designing a new class of instruments to enable new experiments using these powerful tools.