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Thursday October 12, 2006, 8:00-9:00
Convention Hall No. 1, Level 2

  Plenary Talk III:



Nano/Micro Robotic Systems for Directing Cellular Functions



Professor Chih-Ming Ho

University of California, Los Angeles


The cell is an adaptive and complex system that drives the basic processes of life. These intricately efficient systems function independently, or coalesce with other cells in our bodies to produce higher-order intelligent functionalities and structures. In fact, the cell is one of the most efficient autonomous microscale "robotic systems" and is comprised of millions of nanoscale molecular machineries, i.e. hardware, such as DNA/RNA and proteins. Furthermore, the cellular processes are results of these molecular machines working in concert governed by complex regulatory circuitry, i.e. software. Interacting synergistically among the hardware and software, the cell functions continuously over a broad range of time scales and span length scales by three orders of magnitude, nanometers to microns.

For therapeutic or basic research purposes, it is necessary to manipulate cellular functions. The challenge obviously lies in the complexity of the system, millions of various types of nanoscale machineries and regulatory circuitries still beyond comprehension. The recently developed nano/micro technology based transducers can match the length scale of molecules and cells. As such, the direct interrogation and manipulation of these cellular functions in real-time has become possible. We have demonstrated that properly designed micro/nano robotic systems can direct the cellular functionalities across multiple length scales to efficiently reach the desired control state. This may yield new insight into unlocking and acquiring novel control modalities of the underlying mechanisms that drive the natural processes of life.



Dr. Chih-Ming Ho received his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University and holds the Ben Rich-Lockheed Martin Chair Professor in the UCLA School of Engineering. He is the Director of the Institute for Cell Mimetic Space Exploration (CMISE). Dr. Ho is known for his work in micro/nano fluidics, bio-nano technology and turbulence. He was ranked by ISI as one of the top 250 most cited researchers worldwide in the entire engineering category. In 1997, Dr. Ho was inducted as a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In the next year, he was elected as an Academician of Academia Sinica, which honors scholars of Chinese origin with exceptional achievements in liberal arts and the sciences. Dr. Ho holds five honorary professorships. He has published 240 papers and presented over 100 keynote talks in international conferences. Dr. Ho was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society as well as American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for his contributions in a wide spectrum of technical areas.

He has served on advisory panels to provide assistance to many countries and regions, France, China, United Kingdom, Israel, Taiwan, and Japan, on the development of nano/micro technologies. Dr. Ho also has chaired or served on numerous organizing committees of international conferences on high technology topics.