Edwin R. Lewis

Professor Emeritus


Concentrating on application of engineering to physiology, Lewis earned the AB (Biology), MS (EE) and Engineer (EE) degrees from Stanford in 1956, 1957 and 1959 respectively. Research for his Engineer degree was conducted in the Physiology Department of Stanford Medical School. His PhD research (in semiconductor physical electronics) was done at Stanford's Applied Electronics Lab. In 1961, he joined RF Reiss (General Precision Inc.) and TH Bullock (at UCLA) to reverse engineer a tiny piece of nervous system. He joined the Cal EE faculty in July, 1967 and retired from teaching in 2000, but continued in research for several more years. Throughout his career at Cal his primary research was reverse engineering of nervous systems, an enterprise involving nearly equal amounts of theoretical and experimental work. For most of his career at Cal, this work was aimed at the vertebrate inner ear.

In 1968 Lewis established an ecology course for engineers and taught it for about a decade, until ecology became a formal focus of the Civil Engineering Department. During that time he was immersed in the campus ecology community, participating in teaching and advising activities, conducting research on ecological topics, and guiding the research of graduate students in that area. He also served as an advisor/reviewer for the Grasslands Biome part of the US/IBP (International Biome Program).

Lewis oversaw the establishment of the bioelectronics option for undergraduate EE majors and continued to teach courses for that option until he retired. He also participated in teaching the campus-wide graduate course in cellular neurobiology, and in teaching the College of Engineering's Introduction to Bioengineering. For the latter, together with SA Berger (ME) and W Goldsmith (ME), Lewis organized and edited a text (Oxford University Press, 1996). From 1969 to 1977, Lewis was PI (director) of the campus Biomedical Engineering Training Grant from the NIH. In 1982-83, SA Burger (ME), S Glantz (UCSF Cardiology) and Lewis designed and founded the Joint UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco Graduate Program in Bioengineering. At Berkeley, that program was administered by the office of the College of Engineering's Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies. From 1988 to 1996 Lewis held that position, and from 1988 to 1991 he served as Chair of the Executive Committee of the program. In 1983 Lewis formed and chaired a committee to revise the undergraduate Bioengineering Science program. The revisions made Bioengineering Science among the most competitive undergraduate majors on campus for freshman admission. It was the inspiration and model for the College's Engineering Undeclared option which was conceived by Lewis and put in place in 1996 by him and J Casey (ME).

Lewis chaired the Faculty Senate Committee on Research (1973-76); he was the Graduate Division's Associate Dean for Research (1977-82) and a member of the Scientific and Educational Advisory Board of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (1978-85). He also served on the advisory committee for the Biomedical Simulations Resource at USC (1995-2006).

Descriptions of research in the Lewis Lab itself can be found on Lewis's personal homepage. In addition to the many undergraduate and MS students that came through the lab, there were twenty-six PhD students for whom Prof. Lewis served as mentor (chair of dissertation committee).

Prof. Lewis is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, and an Emeritus Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society. He was awarded an NIH Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigatorship in 1984. He also received a UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award (1972) and the Berkeley Citation (1997).

Awards, Memberships and Fellowships