Research Interests: Microbial electrophysiology and bioelectronics.
Tom J. Zajdel is a PhD Candidate in Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley, where he designs microsystems that interface with bacterial cells for high-performance biosensing. During graduate school, he co-developed "EE40LX: Electronic Interfaces" with Professor Michel Maharbiz, a massive open online course that teaches basic circuit principles, reaching over 80 thousand students worldwide. He is a recipient of the Berkeley Chancellor's Fellowship and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. He completed his BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University in 2012.
Direct Electron-Mediated Control of Hybrid Multi-Cellular Robots [BPN718]
We propose to design, fabricate and test a millimeter-scale, programmable cellular-synthetic
hybrid robot capable of autonomous motility, sensing and response in aqueous environment. This will be
the first demonstration of a millimeter-scale synthetic autonomous multi-cellular hybrid with organic
and man-made components. A primary goal of this work is to enable abiotic/biotic two-way communication
via electron transfer channels engineered into cells in contact with microelectrodes. We have
successfully miniaturized an electrochemical sensing platform to the centimeter scale to measure
current generated by engineered Escherichia coli cells in response to their enviornment. This platform
enables control techniques that rely on combinations of gene expression, cell-level sensing, and CMOS