Joanna Aizenberg, “Natural Glass Houses in the Deep: Lessons in Design”

Joanna Aizenberg

Gordon McKay Professor of Materials Science; Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor;

Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

“Natural Glass Houses in the Deep: Lessons in Design”

In the course of evolution, Nature has developed strategies that endow biological processes with exquisite selectivity and specificity, and produce superior materials and structures. This is wonderfully exemplified in the realm of inorganic materials formation by organisms, so-called “biomineralization”.

Learning from and mastering Nature’s concepts not only satisfies humankind’s insatiable curiosity for understanding the world around us, but also promises to drive a paradigm shift in modern materials science and technology.

Professor Aizenberg’s research is aimed at understanding some of the basic principles of biomineralization and the economy with which biology solves complex problems in the design of functional inorganic 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. Aizenberg is one of the pioneers of this rapidly developing field of biomimetic inorganic materials synthesis.

Professor Aizenberg pursues a broad range of research interests that include biomimetics, self-assembly, crystal engineering, surface chemistry, nanofabrication, biomaterials, biomechanics, and biooptics.


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