(CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts) — Wyss Institute Core Faculty member Joanna Aizenberg, Ph.D., has been elected to the American Philosophical Society. As part of the prestigious society, Aizenberg and the other newly-elected members will help promote useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources, and community outreach.
Aizenberg, who is also the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Material Sciences at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Director of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology, is a pioneer in developing bioinspired materials, using biological design principles to innovate adaptive technologies.
Specifically, Aizenberg investigates how living organisms assemble themselves into structures with high functionality to enable applications of these principles in new materials and devices. 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 recent years, Aizenberg has developed a repellent coating, Slippery Liquid Infused Porous Surfaces or SLIPS for short, which was bioinspired by a carnivorous pitcher plant’s slippery surface and can prevent virtually any material from sticking to a treated surface. With the promise of many exciting potential applications for the surface coating, including preventing marine fouling on ships and ice buildup on airplane wings, in 2014 the startup company SLIPS Technologies, Inc., was launched out of the Wyss Institute.
The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin to promote useful knowledge and headquartered in Philadelphia, is the oldest learned society in the Unites States. Since then, only 5,540 members have been elected. Aizenberg joins a group currently comprising 832 resident members and 162 international members.