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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interview with Michel Maharbiz

  • Author(s): Gururangan, Kapil
  • Owen, Elaine
  • et al.

Michel Maharbiz, an associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) at UC Berkeley, has pushed his lab to the frontier of biological interface technologies and is increasingly interested in applications in synthetic biology. He received his B.S. in EECS from Cornell University in 1997 and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2003 under Dr. Jay Keasling for his work on microbioreactor systems. Maharbiz’s lab has gained public recognition for their work on controlling the flight of insects by building so-called “cyborg beetles.” Though it is only one of many projects pursued by him and his co-investigators, it speaks clearly to his vision of a new era of technology: one that uses biointerfaces with technology to harness nature’s complexity. MIT’s Technology Review named the cyborg beetle one of the top ten emerging technologies of 2009 and TIME magazine similarly hailed it as among the top fifty inventions that same year. Berkeley Scientific Journal met with Professor Maharbiz in 2011 to learn about his research and to explore his ideas for the future of science.

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