Tatum  Wilhelm

Tatum Wilhelm

Scholar Title

MIT ChemE | Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

Developing Engineered Cell-Based Electrochemical Lanthanide Sensors





Research Areas
  • Biological Engineering

Ariel Furst


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.

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