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 Radcliffe. She studies the basic principles of biomineralization and the economy with which biology solves complex problems in designing functional inorganic materials, and uses biological principles to develop bio-inspired synthetic routes and advanced nanofabrication strategies. Aizenberg is a pioneer in the rapidly developing field of biomimetic inorganic materials synthesis.
At Radcliffe, she will continue to research the complex behavior in certain species’ mineral components and to use biological principles to design multifunctional materials and devices. Her work has shown, for instance, that the skeletons of some simple marine creatures not only provide the expected structural support, but also function as exquisite optical devices. Aizenberg’s project will draw on the interdisciplinary field of biomimetic materials, and she will also consider how art and architecture influence her work and her field.
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.