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Joanna Aizenberg elected to National Academy of Sciences

Wyss Core Faculty member and materials scientists joins the ranks of the National Academy of Sciences for her distinguished and continuing achievements

By Leah Burrows, SEAS Communications

Joanna Aizenberg elected to National Academy of Sciences
Wyss Founding Core Faculty member Joanna Aizenberg appointed to the National Academy of Sciences. Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — Joanna Aizenberg, Ph.D., a Founding Core Faculty member of Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) is among the 100 new members and 25 foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of “their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

The 2019 NAS class makes history — forty percent of the newly elected members are women, the most ever elected in any one year to date. The NAS is a United States nonprofit, non-governmental organization and part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine whose members serve as pro bono “advisers to the nation” on science, engineering and medicine.

Aizenberg’s research explores the design principles that allow biological organisms to adapt to their changing surroundings. Her lab studies glass structures in sea sponges, the lens-covered skeleton of brittlestars, and the slime on the top of bacterial colonies to elucidate the relationships between material structure and function. In addition to her roles at the Wyss Institute and SEAS, Aizenberg also is Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and co-Director of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology, which is based at SEAS. She is a faculty associate of the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) and an affiliate of the BASF North American Center for Research on Advanced Materials, based at SEAS. She also participates in Harvard’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).

In the course of her distinguished research career, Aizenberg has also become a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, American Philosophical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and she is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and Materials Research Society. She has received numerous awards, authored about 250 publications, and holds about 50 issued patents that helped create several startup companies.

Other Wyss Institute Faculty that previously have been appointed as members of the NAS include Core Faculty members Jennifer Lewis, Sc. D., George Church, Ph.D., David Weitz, Ph.D., and James Collins, Ph.D.

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