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 a millimeter-scale, programmable cellular-synthetic hybrid sensor node
capable of sensing and response in aqueous environments. 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 bacterial cells in response to their environmental arsenic.