Prof. Polina Anikeeva joined the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2011. Dr. Anikeeva’s Ph.D. thesis focused on physical properties and design of light emitting devices based on organic materials and nanoparticles, working under the supervision of Prof. Vladimir Bulovic in EECS. She previously held the Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, School of Medicine, Stanford and was in the group of Prof. Karl Deisseroth in the Department of Bioengineering. Her current research is focused on development of optoelectronic and magnetic materials and devices for recording and modulating activity of neurons in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral organs.
When asked to describe her research interests, Dr. Anikeeva writes, “My research interests lie within the field of Bioelectronics, and specifically the development of materials and devices that enable recording and manipulation of signaling processes within the nervous system. Our ability to understand the dynamics of neural circuits and develop treatments for neurological (Parkinson’s, paraplegia) and psychiatric (depression) conditions is currently handicapped by the technology available for interacting with the electrical, chemical, and mechanical signaling modalities used by neurons. Today, neural probes remain limited in both function and longevity as they fail to communicate with the neural tissue across its signaling palette for extended periods of time. ….By combining physical modeling, materials synthesis and device fabrication with understanding of electrophysiological and anatomical structure of neural circuits, my group aspires to create enabling tools for systems neuroscience as well as advance the development of future neuroprosthetics.” She is enthusiastic about pursuing her research interests at MIT, where collaborations between colleagues, departments, and schools create innovations almost daily.
She explains that, “While research is a very significant part, of my life, I cannot possibly imagine a fulfilling career without teaching. My goal, as a teacher, is to infect the students with my curiosity for materials science and to inspire them to become future academic and industry leaders in the field.” Every Spring she teaches core undergraduate course 3.024 “Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials” that takes students on a math-packed journey throught the structure-property relations governing optoelectronics and magnetism. In the Fall she teaches an advanced design course 3.156/3.46 “Photonic Materials and Devices” that allows students to engineer realistic photonic devices such as lasers, solar cells, and optical fibers.