Text Box: Research Interests

My research interests center around neurological and cellular information processing in biological systems.

In my doctoral work on audio signal processing, I have attempted to suggest a mechanism of parallel neural processing by which the auditory system might perform audio source separation. A central problem in the literature is understanding the cocktail party effect, i.e., the ability of normal listeners to focus on a particular speaker or sound source of interest and ignore all remaining sound sources, as in a crowded room or on a noisy train. This is a task which is often very difficult for hearing impaired listeners. In addition, many communications and speech recognition systems are vulnerable to errors in the presence of such interference. We created a model by which the auditory system might combine information from multiple overlapping frequency bands to produce a precise estimate of instantaneous frequency, amplitude and phase that can be useful for separating signals on the basis of common modulation patterns. We will describe this in more detail in sections to be added to this web site.

In addition to this work, I maintain strong interests in molecular computing with DNA. It is my belief that DNA is a dynamic computing platform which may be both read from and written to in the course of cellular processing, and not merely a template for coding amino acid sequences of polypeptides. The fact that greater than 95% of DNA in humans is non-coding, suggests a wider role than is commonly assumed. In addition, various non-random chromosomal breaks and sequence repeats occur in the course of certain diseases including cancer for which the mechanism is yet unknown. In a paper titled “A Microcode Model of Cell Differentiation” we suggest a role for non-coding DNA in the regulation of cell-fate determination, and propose a hypothesis on how errors in this process might explain these non-random breakages and the unrestrained proliferation and loss of differentiation which is the hallmark of carcinogenesis.

My undergraduate and masters work was in Electrical Engineering and I worked on various defense projects and avionics systems including radar and aircraft communications protocols such as MIL-STD-1553. I was involved with hardware/software integration, wrote C language libraries and composed the entire User’s Manual of the company’s flagship controller while at BMC Communications Corporation.



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Oval: ResumeOval: ThesisBarry D. Jacobson