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Delcomyn1.jpg (16581 bytes) Fred Delcomyn

If you were to look back on my activities during the past few years, you would be justified in thinking my motto is "out of the frying pan, into the fire." After more years than I care to contemplate, and an especially intense 12 months in 1996-97, I finally finished my neurobiology textbook, Foundations of Neurobiology, which was published by W.H. Freeman & Co. in October 1997. When at last I emerged from the task enough to recognize family, friends, and colleagues again, my first thought was that I could make a dent in the rather large backlog of papers that had been languishing under the pressure to finish the book. However, I failed to take into account a completely unexpected call from the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences to help guide the newly forming School of Integrative Biology through its early years by acting as director. This is also a time-consuming and sometimes intense activity. Nevertheless, I must have learned something about time management while writing my book, because I have made a dent in the papers even while dealing with such issues as a new curriculum and hiring priorities.

This is just as well. You may recall that I have recently been working at the intersection of neurobiology and robotics, and research in this area is burgeoning. Research papers in both neurobiological and robotics journals, workshops, special journal issues, and symposia on biomorphic robots (robots that resemble animals) or on biomimetic robotics (the application of biological principles to robots), have sprouted during the past year like weeds in an Illinois garden. With our robot up and walking, and with the continued development of our computer simulation that allows us rapidly to test ideas about how movement in insects or robots is controlled, we expect significant progress as we move into the new century. Stay tuned; the fun is just beginning!

Entomology Integrative Biology University of Illinois

Updated 12/08/99