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Microchips that “see” like eyes

Posted by Alex Gault on April 2, 2006

Kwabena Boahen, associate professor in Stanford University’s department of bioengineering, leads a research group that is trying to mimic the functions of the brain’s complex neural system using silicon chips. He hopes his research will lead to neuromorphic processors, small computers that could replace damaged neural tissue or silicon retinas that restore vision.

“What we’re trying to do now is to build chips with something like 100,000 neurons on them and then build a multiple-chip network that gets up to about 1 million neurons,” Boahen said. “With a network of that size, you can model what the different cortical areas are doing and how they are talking to each other.”

“If you lost your hearing or had a stroke and had some neural tissue that needed to be replaced, and if we could build something that uses as little power as the brain does and uses as little space as that neural tissue does, then we could replace it,” he said.

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Gladstone Institutes: Best Place for Postdocs to Work

Posted by Alex Gault on March 15, 2006

Life sciences journal The Scientist ranks San Francisco-based J. David Gladstone Institutes as the best place to do postdoctoral studies, jumping from 12th place in 2005.

The Institutes’ recent move across the street from UCSF’s Mission Bay campus has strengthened their affiliation with the university, where postdocs and faculty hold joint appointments.

Primary research efforts at the Institutes focus on 3 clinical problems: cardiovascular disease, AIDS, and neurodegenerative disorders. Each institute is organized around research units consisting of scientists, postdoctoral researchers, research associates, and students. 

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