Joanna Aizenberg, Ph.D.
Founding Core Faculty Member
Platform Leader, Adaptive Material Technologies
Amy Smith Berylson Prof. of Material Sciences
Harvard School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
Director, Science Program
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Kavli Institute for Bionano Science & Technology
Joanna is a pioneer in the rapidly developing field of bio-inspired materials science and engineering -- a branch of science that uses biological principles as guides in developing advanced, adaptive materials and devices. Her work focuses on understanding the unique architectural principles found in nature that enable living organisms to assemble themselves into structures with high functionality. These principles offer important clues into economical ways of solving complex materials and design problems. In the Adaptive Material Technologies Platform, Joanna's team is experimenting with substances that emulate the optics, versatility, and structure of a deep-sea sponge known as Venus' Flower Basket that can focus light more efficiently than a manmade lens. She has also designed ice-free nanostructured materials that repel water droplets before they freeze. Such materials could lead to new ways of preventing ice from forming on airplane wings, buildings, and even highways.
Joanna is the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Material Sciences at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Director of the Science Program for the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and Co-Director of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology. Her many honors include the Award of the Max-Planck Society in Biology and Materials Science, the Arthur K. Doolittle Award of the American Chemical Society, and the New Investigator Award in Chemistry and Biology of Mineralized Tissues. Joanna serves on the Board of Directors of the Materials Research Society, the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies, and the Advisory Board of Langmuir and Chemistry of Materials. She has authored 90 publications and holds 25 patents.