Conrad James, Ph.D.

Applied Engineering & Physics

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Conrad James is a Principal Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. He graduated with a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and received his master’s and doctoral degrees in applied and engineering physics from Cornell University. Currently, Conrad is in the Bio/Chem/Physical Microsensors department where he serves as the Principal Investigator for the Hardware Acceleration of Adaptive Neural Algorithms (HAANA) Grand Challenge Laboratory Directed Research and Development project. This project is a major investment from the laboratory that is focused on developing disruptive technologies for data-driven computing using neural-inspired algorithms and hardware architectures.

Conrad’s experience in microsystems design and fabrication has had impact in a diverse array of fields from neural engineering to microfluidics and microelectronics. He has published over 30 research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has been awarded six patents. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Contact information

Research Areas

Neural Engineering and Neuroscience

  • Chemical and topographical substrate design for living cell interfacing
  • Electrophysiology of in vitro dissociated neuron and tissue-slice preparations
  • Microelectrode array sensor development
  • Neural-inspired algorithm development


  • In vitro platforms for living cell interrogation (impedance spectroscopy, fluorescence microscopy)
  • Gas phase microvalve design and simulation
  • Electrokinetic phenomena in liquid-phase systems


  • Resistive memory and multiferroic device technologies

Peer-reviewed Publications

Agarwal, S., Quach, T., Parekh, O., Hsia, A.H., DeBenedictis E.P., James, C.D., Marinella, M.J., Aimone, J.B. “Energy scaling advantages of memristor crossbar based computation and its application to sparse coding,” Front Neuro 2016, 9, 484.

Vineyard, C.M., Verzi, S.J., James, C.D., Aimone, J.B., Heileman, G.L. “Repeated play of the SVM game as a means of adaptive classification,” International Joint Conference on Neural Networks 2015, 1-8.

Vineyard, C.M., Verzi, S.J., James, C.D., Aimone, J.B., Heileman, G.L. “MapReduce SVM game” International Neural Network Society meeting on Big Data 2015, Procedia Comp Sci, 53, 298.

Cox, J.A., James, C.D., Aimone, J.B. “A signal processing approach for cyber data classification with deep neural networks,” Complex Adaptive Systems 2015, Procedia Comp Sci, 61, 349.

Baca, M., Schiess, A.R.B, Jelenik, D., James, C.D., and L.D. Partridge, “Induction frequency affects cortico-striatal synaptic plasticity with implications on frequency filtering,” Brain Research 2015, 1615, 80.

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Lohn, A.J., Mickel, P.R., James, C. D. and Marinella, M.J., “Degenerative resistive switching and ultrahigh density storage in resistive memory,” Appl Phys Lett 2014, 105, 103501.

Mickel, P. R., Lohn, A. J., James, C. D. and Marinella, M. J., “Isothermal switching and detailed filament evolution in memristive systems,” Adv. Mater. 2014, doi: 10.1002/adma.201306182. (Inside back cover article)

Mickel, P.R., Buvaev, S., Jeen, H., Finnegan, P., Biswas, A., Hebard, A.F., James, C.D., “Resolving remanent ferroelectric polarization vector components in thin film multiferroic BiMnO3 via surface and embedded interdigital microelectrodes,” Journal of Applied Physics, 2013, 114,094104.

Mickel, P.R., Lohn, A., Choi, B.J., Yang, J.J., Zhang, M., Marinella, M., James, C.D., Williams, R.S., “A physical model of switching dynamics in tantalum oxide memristive devices,” Appl Phys Lett, 2013; 102, 223502.

Mickel, P.R. and James, C.D., “Multilayer memristive/memcapacitive devices with engineered conduction fronts,” Eur Phys J Appl Phys 2013, 62, 30102.

Greene, A.C., Washburn, C.M., Bachand, G.D., James, C.D., “Combined chemical and topographical guidance cues for directing cytoarchitectural polarization in dissociated primary neurons,” Biomaterials 2011; 32, 8860.

James, C.D., McClain, J., Pohl, K.R., Reuel, N., Achyuthan, K.E., Bourdon, C.J., Rahimian, K., Galambos, P.C., Ludwig, G., Derzon, M.S., “High-efficiency magnetic particle focusing using dielectrophoresis and magnetophoresis in a microfluidic device,” J Micromech Microeng 2010; 20, 045015.

James, C.D., Moorman, M., Carson, B.D., Branda, C.S., Lantz, J.W., Manginell, R.P., Martino, A., Singh, A.K., “Nuclear translocation kinetics of NF-B in macrophages challenged with pathogens in a microfluidic platform,” Biomed Microdevices 2009; 11, 693.

Galambos, P.C., James, C.D., Lantz, J., Givler, R., McClain, J., Simonson, R.J., “Passive MEMS valve with pre-set operating pressures for micro-gas analyzer,” J Microelectromech S 2009; 18, 14.

Song, H., Mulukutla, V., James, C.D., Bennett, D.J., “Dielectrophoretic gating for highly efficient separation of analytes in surface micromachined microfluidic devices,” J Micromech Microeng 2008; 18, 125013.

Derzon, M.S., Hopkins, M.M., Galambos, P.C., Achyuthan, K.E., Bourdon, C.J., Brener, I., James, C.D. et al., “Timely multi-threat biological, chemical, and nuclide detection: a platform, a metric, key results,” Int J Tech Transfer Commercialisation 2008; 7, 413.

Ravula, S.K., Branch, D.W., James, C.D., Townsend, R.J., Hill, M., Kaduchak, G., Ward, M., Brener, I., “A microfluidic system combining acoustic and dielectrophoretic particle preconcentration and focusing,” Sensor Actuat B-Chemical 2008; 130, 645.

James, C.D., Reuel, N., Lee, E.S., Davalos, R.V., Mani, S.S., Carroll-Portillo, A., Rebeil, R., Martino, A., Apblet, C., “Impedimetric and optical interrogation of single cells in a microfluidic device for real-time viability and chemical response assessment,” Biosens Bioelectron 2008; 23, 845.

Kumar, A, Acrivos, A., Khusid, B., James, C.D., Jacqmin, D., "Conveyor-belt method for assembling microparticles into large-scale structures using electric fields," Appl Phys Lett 2007; 90, 154104.

Withers, G.S., James, C.D., Kingman, C.E., Craighead, H.G. Banker, G.A., "Effects of substrate geometry on growth cone behavior and axon branching," J Neurobiol 2006; 66, 1183.

James, C.D., Okandan, M., Mani, S.S., Galambos, P.C., Shul, R., "Monolithic surface micromachined fluidic devices for dielectrophoretic preconcentration and routing of particles," J Micromech Microeng 2006; 16, 1909.

James, C.D., Okandan, M., Galambos, P.C., Mani, S.S., Bennett, D., Khusid, B., Acrivos, A., "Surface micromachined dielectrophoretic gates for the front-end device of a biodetection system," J Fluid Eng – T ASME 2006; 128, 14.

James, C.D, Spence, A.J., Dowell, N., Hussein, R. Smith, K., Craighead, H.G., Isaacson, M.S., Shain, W., Turner, J.  “Extracellular recordings from patterned neuronal networks using planar microelectrode arrays,” IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 2004; 51, 1640.

Bennett, D.J., Khusid, B., James, C.D., Galambos, P.C., Okandan, M., Jacqmin, D., Acrivos, A., “Combined field-induced dielectrophoresis and phase separation for manipulating particles in microfluidics,” Appl Phys Lett 2003; 83, 4866.

Oliva Jr., A.A, James, C.D., Kingman, C.E., Craighead, H.G., Banker, G.A., “Patterning axonal guidance molecules using a novel strategy for microcontact printing,” Neurochem Res 2003; 28, 1639.

Craighead, H.G., James, C.D., and Turner, A.M.P. “Current issues and advances in dissociated cell culturing on nano- and microfabricated substrates,” in Recent and Evolving Advanced Semiconductor and Organic Nano-techniques, Volume 3: Physics and Technology of Molecular and Biotech Systems, Hadis Morkoc, Editor; Academic Press, San Diego, CA; 251- 318, 2003.

Dias, A.F., Dernick, G., Valero, V., Yong, M.G., James, C.D., Craighead, H.G., Lindau, M., “An electrochemical detector array to study cell biology on the nanoscale,” Nanotechnology 2002; 13, 285.

Craighead, H.G., James, C.D., and Turner, A.M.P. “Chemical and topographical patterning for directed cell attachment,” Curr Opin Solid St M 2001; 5, 177.

James, C.D., Davis, R., Meyer, M., Turner, A., Turner, S., Withers, G., Kam, L., Banker, G., Craighead, H., Isaacson, M., Turner, J., and Shain, W. “Aligned microcontact printing of micrometer-scale poly-L-lysine structures for controlled growth of cultured neurons on planar microelectrode arrays,”   IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 2000; 47, 17.

James, C.D., Davis, R.C., Kam, L., Craighead, H.G., Isaacson, M.S, Shain, W., and Turner, J.N. “Patterned protein layers on solid substrates by thin stamp microcontact printing,” Langmuir 1998; 14, 741.

Craighead, H.G., Turner, S.W., Davis, R.C., James, C.D., Perez, A.M., St. John, P.M., Isaacson, M.S., Kam, L., Shain, W., Turner, J.N., Banker, G. “Chemical and topographical surface modification for control of central nervous system cell adhesion,” Biomed Microdevices 1998; 1, 49.

Dietrich, A.M., James, C.D., King, D.R., Ginn-Pease, M.E., Cecalupo, A.J., “Head trauma in children with congenital coagulation disorders,” J Pediatr Surg 1994; 29, 28.


• Microfluidic device for acoustic cell lysis, US Patent #9,096,823; 8/4/2015.

• Passive electrically switchable circuit element having improved tunability and method for its manufacture, US Patent #8,835,272; 9/16/2014.

• Microfabricated particle focusing device, US Patent #8,425,749 4/23/2013.

• A portable dual field gradient force multichannel flow cytometer, US Patent #8,293,089; 10/23/2012.

• Microfluidic device for the assembly and transport of microparticles, US Patent #7,744,737; 6/29/2010.

• Dielectrophoretic columnar focusing device, US Patent #7,713,395; 5/11/2010.