Azita Emami

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Azita Emami-Neyestanak
Azita Emami-Neyestanak Caltech.jpg
Azita Emami in 2007
Alma materStanford University
Sharif University of Technology
Scientific career
InstitutionsCalifornia Institute of Technology
Columbia University
ThesisDesign of CMOS receivers for parallel optical interconnects
Doctoral advisorMark Horowitz

Azita Emami-Neyestanak is the Andrew and Peggy Cherng Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering at CalTech. Emami works on low-power mixed-mode circuits in scalable technologies. She is Executive Officer of the Department of Electrical Engineering and an investigator in the Heritage Medical Research Institute.

Early life and education[edit]

Emami was born in Nain, Iran.[1] She studied at an all-girls high school, where she became interested in hardware design.[2] She earned her Bachelor's degree in electronic engineerinng at the Sharif University of Technology in 1996.[1] During her undergraduate degree she created a high performance synthesizer with Direct Digital techniques.[1] She joined Stanford University for her graduate studies, earning a Master's degree in 1999 and a PhD in 2004.[3] At Stanford University she was a member of the very-large-scale-integrated (VLSI) research group, where she worked on integrated circuits and system design.[4] She joined the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in 2004, working on communication technologies.[4] She was an Assistant Professor at Columbia University from 2006 to 2007.[4] Her early work used simulations and measurement to evaluate CMOS technology operating at sub-Nyquist rates.[5]

Research and career[edit]

Emami joined the California Institute of Technology in 2007. She was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to investigate integrated systems in 2008, studying the electro-optical connects in integrated systems.[6][7] She was awarded a Okawa Foundation grant in 2010, allowing her to investigate the design of high performance sensors.[8] In 2015 Emami was appointed as a Principal Investigator of the Heritage Medical Research Institute.[9]

Emami's work involves the design of energy efficient ways to interface the information and physical worlds. Her research group, MICS (Mixed-mode Integrated Circuits and Systems), study circuits for data communication, sensing and biomedical devices.[10][11] She focusses on low-power consumption devices, such as microdevices that can act as photoreceptors for people who suffer from vision loss.[12] She achieves low power consumption by using clocking techniques.[4] The photoreceptor-like devices can transmit information to the retinal nerves, and, crucially, can operate at low power as any overheating may damage human tissue.[12]

In a collaboration with the Doheny Eye Institute, Emami developed retinal eye implants that were based on ultra-low power flexible circuits.[13] The circuits included hundreds of electrodes that could be used to stimulate the cells in the eye.[13] Designing electronic components for the eye is not trivial - unlike most circuitry, they cannot be flat. Emami collaborated with an origami expert to develop an implant that could match the contour of a retina.[13] Following this project, Emami worked with Yu-Chong Tai to create intraocular pressure sensors that can monitor eye pressure in patients who suffer from glaucoma.[14] To ensure the sensors are biocompatible, Emami encapsulated them in 'parylene-on-oil', a silicone-oil bubble surrounded by parylene.[14][15] Working with Axel Scherer, Emami has developed an implantable glucose monitor that can transmit information via bluetooth to a wearable reader.[12] The sensors can alert physicians in the event of a blood sugar dip or spike.[12] One of her undergraduate students proposed a way for the glucose sensor to operate on low-power, using an analog to digital conversion.[12]

In her position at the Heritage Medical Research Institute, Emami creates microdevices that can be used to monitor health and provide treatment inside patients' bodies.[16] Emami has developed a biosensor that can continuously monitor vital information, including blood sugar, pH levels and cortisol, as well as acting as a therapeutic system, releasing insulin or other medicine.[3] She collaborated with Mikhail Shapiro to develop a device called 'Addressable Transmitters Operated as Magnetic Spins' (ATOMS), which uses principles of magnetic resonance imaging to locate the device in the human body.[12] The ATOMS chips contain integrated resonators, sensors and wireless transmission technology, which allows them to be located using magnetic fields.[17] Her group are currently evaluating the performance of ATOMS in vitro and in vivo, monitoring device migration in live mice and creating the platform that will allow navigation in high-precision surgery.[18] She has also investigated efficient neural interfaces.[19] In 2017 Emami was appointed the Andrew and Peggy Cherng Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering at CalTech. The Chair is endowed by the co-founders of Panda Express.

Academic service[edit]

Emami is the Associate Editor for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Journal of Solid State Circuits and has served as the IEEE SSCS distinguished lecturer.[20] She serves as the Executive Officer of the Department of Electrical Engineering at CalTech.[21] Alongside her academic research, Emami works on initiatives to improve diversity in engineering.[2][12]


  1. ^ a b c "Berkeley IC-seminar". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  2. ^ a b "Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science | ENGenious | Issue 7 | Faculty Profiles - Electrical Engineering". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  3. ^ a b "BME Lecture Series: Azita Emami, Caltech | The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  4. ^ a b c d "Energy-Efficient Chip-to-Chip Communication at the Extremes of Computing". IEE | UC Santa Barbara. 2016-04-01. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  5. ^ "Design and Analysis of High-Performance Compressed Sensing Receivers | Science and Technology". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  6. ^ "NSF Award Search: Award#0747768 - CAREER: Hybrid Data Communication in Advanced Integrated Systems". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  7. ^ "Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science | News | Azita Emami, Julia Greer, and Beverley McKeon Receieve NSF Career Awards". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  8. ^ "Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science | News | Professor Emami-Neyestanak Receives 2010 Okawa Foundation Research Grant". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  9. ^ "Caltech Division of Engineering and Applied Science | News | Professors Choo and Emami Selected As Heritage Principal Investigators". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  10. ^ "MICS Lab | Caltech". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  11. ^ "MICS Lab | Chip Gallery". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "The Possibilities are Mote and Remote". Caltech Campaign. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  13. ^ a b c "Knowing When to Fold 'Em | Caltech". The California Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  14. ^ a b "Wireless Pressure-Sensing Eye Implant Could Help Prevent Blindness | Caltech". The California Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  15. ^ Agarwal, Abhinav; Shapero, Aubrey; Rodger, Damien; Humayun, Mark; Tai, Yu-Chong; Emami, Azita (April 2018), "A wireless, low-drift, implantable intraocular pressure sensor with parylene-on-oil encapsulation", 2018 IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference (CICC), IEEE, pp. 1–4, ISBN 9781538624838, retrieved 2019-01-10
  16. ^ "Gift Enables Transformative Advances in Health Care". Caltech Campaign. 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  17. ^ "Medicine of the Future: New Microchip Technology Could Be Used to Track Smart Pills | Caltech". The California Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  18. ^ "NSF Award Search: Award#1823036 - EAGER: Addressable Transmitters Operated as Magnetic Spins". Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  19. ^ Read "Frontiers of Engineering: Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2017 Symposium" at
  20. ^ Kernis, Rachida. "Azita Emami". EECS Rising Stars 2018. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  21. ^ awp-admin. "MICS Lab | Azita Emami". Retrieved 2019-01-10.