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New techniques in molecular biology are rapidly changing the way we think about biological structures -- from the products of evolution to components that we can design and mass-produce. Professor Freeman is involved in developing instrumentation that visualizes the microscopic motion of biological and synthetic structures. His research is aimed at determining how biological transducers -- membrane-bound proteins called ion-channels to perform transduction processes -- components are organized into a system: the inner ear. Professor Freeman has developed a video-based technique that measures sound induced motions of the inner-ear structures, and is now extending this method to other biomedical and engineering applications. Understanding the signal processing techniques used by sensory cells in the inner ear holds promise to inspire new engineering strategies, including the possibility of designing man-made systems that exploit cellular components.
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