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Todd Coleman

Professor, Bioengineering, UC San Diego

My research philosophy tries to understand common links in sometimes seemingly disparate fields that provide a unique and compelling viewpoint. The main thrust of my research approach is centered around bridging the fields of information theory and control theory with biological disciplines to provide novel translational solutions. Feedback is central to how most biological as well as man-made physical systems operate effectively: it enables robustness to system uncertainties, adaptation to unknown disturbances, and usually significantly reduces complexity, energy, and other costs.

Todd Coleman

Todd Coleman is a young and innovative faculty member in bioengineering. His research focuses on wireless tattoo technology to transmit vital medical data, bringing yesterday’s science fiction into today’s reality.

Information is a universal currency that is traded and processed in man-made, physical, and biological systems. Remarkably, wedding feedback and information theory – in a manner that can be predictive, constructive, beyond the realm of ontology – has not been explored in as much depth as one might imagine. I strongly believe that understanding the central role played by feedback in information theory will not only provide more insight into fundamental limits and mechanisms that characterize healthy and diseased states in biological systems with complex dynamics.

As co-PI on the NSF IGERT grant on titled “Neuro-engineering: a unified educational program for systems engineering and neuroscience”, I was able to build a program with many faculty and students in neuroscience and engineering to address imaging, audition, and brain-machine interface clinical applications. Along with novel course development, one result of this collaboration led to our research group’s developing design principles for brain-machine interfaces that espouse viewpoint of two agents (e.g. the brain and the external device) cooperating to achieve a common goal. More recently, we have developed a class of flexible bio-electronics that for the first time can bend with skin, are mechanically un-noticeable to the user, and can sense/actuate a variety of modalities and wirelessly transmit information.