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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interview with Michel Maharbiz


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

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