main photo of Edwin R. Lewis

Edwin R. Lewis

Professor Emeritus

Research Areas

  • Biosensory systems (neuroethology); Signal processing


Prof. Edwin R. Lewis obtained his AB in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1956, and his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1962, also from Stanford University. His area of expertise is in biosensory systems (neuroethology) and signal processing, primarily in the vertebrate inner ear. The Lewis Lab was the first to employ scanning electron microscopy to examine the vertebrate nervous system in general, and among the the first to use it specifically for examination of the structure of the vertebrate inner ear.

His early professional career, from 1961 through 1967, was spent as a member of the research staff at the Laboratory for Automata Research, Librascope Division, at General Precision, Inc. His research while there focused on modeling of neuroelectric phenomena and small neural networks. From 1967 to the present, he has been a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, as well as being a member of the Graduate Groups in Neurobiology, Biophysics, and Bioengineering.

He is the author or co-author of over 150 scholarly articles and conference proceedings examining reverse engineering of population dynamics, neurons and small neural nets, and the vertebrate ear; the morphology and physiology of vertebrate sensory organs; and the developmental morphology, neuroethology, and evolution of the vertebrate ear. He has also published four books, which include Introduction to Bioengineering (co-edited with S. A. Berger and W. Goldsmith, 1996); The Vertebrate Inner Ear (co-authored with E. L. Leverenz and W. S. Bialek, 1985); Neural Modeling: Electrical Signal Processing in the Nervous System (co-authored with R. J. MacGregor, 1977); and Network Models in Population Biology (1977).

His distinguished activities while at the University have ranged from being the Director of the Biomedical Engineering Training Program (1969-1977); to serving as the Associate Dean of the Graduate Division (1977-1982); to having founded (with S. A. Berger and S. Glantz) the Joint UCSF/UCB Graduate Group in Bioengineering (1982-1983); to serving as the Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies through the College of Engineering (1988-1996); to becoming a Professor in the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School (1994-1999); to establishing (with J. Casey) the Engineering Science Undeclared option for entering freshmen (1994-1996); to becoming a Professor Emeritus (1999-present).

Prof. Lewis is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, as well as having been a Neurosciences Research Program Summer Fellow in 1966 and 1969. In 1972, he was honored to receive a Distinguished Teaching Award from U.C. Berkeley, and in 1984 was a recipient of the NIH Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award. In 1997, he was awarded The Berkeley Citation, one of the highest honors bestowed by the University, for a distinguished academic career significantly exceeding the standard of excellence in his field and for his many contributions to U.C. Berkeley.

Selected Publications