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Joanna Aizenberg awarded the 2017 Havinga Medal

Professor Joanna Aizenberg (Harvard University) is the recipient of the 2017 Havinga Medal. She is awarded for her eminent and original contributions to the field of biologically inspired materials science.

Prof. Aizenberg will receive the Medal during the 2017 Reedijk Symposium, where she will also give her Award Lecture "Moving HAIRS: Towards adaptive, homeostatic materials".

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

She received the BSc degree in Chemistry in 1981, the MSc degree in Physical Chemistry in 1984 from Moscow State University, and the PhD degree in Structural Biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1996. She then went to Harvard University where she did postdoctoral research with George Whitesides on micro/nanofabrication and near-field optics.

In 1998 Aizenberg joined Bell Labs as a member of the Technical Staff where she has made several pioneering contributions including developing new biomimetic approaches for the synthesis of ordered mineral films with highly controlled shapes and orientations, and discovering unique optical systems formed by organisms (microlenses and optical fibers) that outshine technological analogs, and characterized the associated organic molecules. In 2007 Aizenberg joined the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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.

 

photo: An electron microscope photograph showing self-assembling hair-like polymers around a polystyrene sphere. Sung Hoon Kang, Joanna Aizenberg and Boaz Pokroy; Harvard University.