JoannaAizenberg
2010–2011
Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute
Harvard University
Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Biomimetics and Quantitative Biology: Conceptual Interpretation and Mathematical Modeling of the Adaptive Design Strategies in Biological Materials, Structures, and Mechanisms

Joanna Aizenberg is the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science and a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute. She studies the basic principles of biological design and the economy with which biology solves complex problems in constructing functional responsive materials. She also uses biological principles to develop bio-inspired synthetic routes and advanced nanofabrication strategies. Aizenberg is a pioneer in the rapidly developing field of biomimetic materials synthesis.

At Radcliffe, Aizenberg will work alongside applied mathematicians Lev Truskinovsky and Elisabeth Logak to develop new theoretical and computational models to capture the behavior of sensory systems based on arrays of hair-like structures—such as those used by spiders to sense the direction and velocity of an approaching enemy, by bats to locate their prey, and by humans to hear—and predict their collective response to a range of stimuli. These studies will allow them to establish principles for designing artificial systems that exhibit unprecedented biomimetic functionality.

Aizenberg earned her BS in chemistry from Moscow State University and her PhD in structural biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science. She has received three awards from the American Chemical Society, most recently the 2007 Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry, and she has been elected to the board of directors of the Materials Research Society and to the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies.

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.