Joanna Aizenberg is the Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Director of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology at Harvard University. She pursues a broad range of research interests that include biomimetic materials, self-assembly, bio-nano interface engineering, active materials, wetting phenomena, and catalysis. She received the B.S. degree in Chemistry from Moscow State University, and the Ph.D. degree in Structural Biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Aizenberg is elected to the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science; and she is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Materials Research Society and External Member of the Max Planck Society. Dr. Aizenberg’s select awards include: MRS Medal, Kavli Innovations in Chemistry Leader Award, ACS; Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience, MRS; Ronald Breslow Award for the Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry, ACS; as well as ~50 Named and Distinguished Lectureships, and Harvard?s Ledlie Prize for the most valuable contribution to science. She has ~235 publications, ~70 issued patents, and is a Founder of four start-up companies.

Research Interests

Aizenberg is one of the pioneers of the rapidly advancing field of biomimetic materials chemistry. Her lab's research is aimed at understanding some of the basic principles of biological architectures and the economy with which biology solves complex problems in the design of multifunctional, adaptive materials. She then uses biological principles as guidance in developing new, bio-inspired synthetic routes and nanofabrication strategies that would lead to advanced materials and devices, with broad implications in fields ranging from architecture to energy efficiency to medicine. Her specific interests include: (i) new approaches to inorganic crystallization that result in crystalline materials with exquisite architecture; (ii) discovery of unusual biological materials with advantageous mechanical and optical performance; (iii) development of new classes of dynamic, self-assembling materials that change their optical, mechanical or wetting characteristics in response to environment; (iv) study of the wetting phenomena and development of novel, truly omniphobic, self-healing and self-cleaning 'slippery' surfaces capable of repelling practically everything (from biological fluids to mussels to ice); (v) synthesis of stable, hierarchically designed heterogeneous catalysts.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 14: Chemistry

Secondary Section

Section 33: Applied Physical Sciences