Tatum Wilhelm

Tatum  Wilhelm
MIT ChemE | Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisor: Ariel Furst
Department: ChemE
Areas of Research: Biological Engineering
Years: 2021-2022
Research Project Title:

Developing Engineered Cell-Based Electrochemical Lanthanide Sensors

abstract:Lanthanides are rare-Earth elements used in several industries including green energy and electronics primarily due to their abundance and low-cost. However, the separation of lanthanides in mining and recycling is costly and environmentally damaging. The protein lanmodulin (LanM) has a high selectivity for rare-Earth elements and is a promising target for sensing, harvesting, and recycling lanthanides. In this project, I will explore three aims for the detection and recovery of lanthanides from complex solutions: 1) Develop an electrochemical LanM sensor to detect these metals; 2) Engineer biomaterials through the surface expression of LanM on cells for the facile recovery of lanthanides from water; and 3) Generate a co-culture for the capture and electrochemical detection of these metals.

Through SuperUROP, I am very excited to experience higher-level research focused on an independent project, where I will have the chance to make a meaningful impact on the broader scientific community. I am excited to enhance my learning at the intersection of chemical and biological engineering while consequently gaining crucial skills for my academic and professional career.