A pioneer in the emerging field of biomimetics, a branch of science that models new systems and materials on nature, Joanna Aizenberg will lead the Radcliffe Institute’s strong multifaceted science program. Aizenberg is a chemist and materials scientist who earned a doctorate in structural biology and connects her innovative research across a wide range of disciplines. By exploring connections among engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, and architecture, she studies how living organisms form robust, elegant structures and how to imitate those structures in synthetic mimics that “grow” into lenses, glass fibers, and other useful structures.
Aizenberg holds BS and MS degrees from Moscow State University and a PhD from the Weizmann Institute of Science. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of George M. Whitesides, the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor in Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, from 1996 to 1998, when she joined Bell Labs. She joined the Harvard faculty in 2007. She has received three awards from the American Chemical Society, most recently the 2008 Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry, Fred Kavli Award in Nanoscience from the Materials Research Society, and she has served on the board of directors of the Materials Research Society and on the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies.
See Aizenberg's faculty research profile on the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences website, the Radcliffe Magazine article, “Stealing from Nature” and the Harvard Gazette articles, “Scientists Explore Nature's Designs” and “Nature's Fine Designs.”