I am a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Dr. Lulu Qian in the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Caltech and will be starting my own lab as an assistant professor at UC Berkeley in summer 2021. I have a broad academic background that spans synthetic chemistry, molecular imaging and cancer therapy, and DNA nanotechnology.
My central motivation is to build structures approaching the complexity of living organisms, starting from small completely synthetic building blocks. I am interested both in understanding the fundamental principles required to build such structures as well as developing applications in medicine and technology using these principles.
This journey has taken me from the first molecule that I synthesized, Be4O(NO3)6 with molecular weight of ~400 Da, to the Mona Lisa assembled from DNA (~400,000,000 Da) (Tikhomirov et al, Nature 2017). During my undergraduate studies in Moscow University I learned covalent (inorganic and organic) synthesis. Since this was not sufficient to build life-like behaviors, during my PhD I learned how to control non-covalent supramolecular interactions to build larger hierarchical architectures. I became captivated by the field of DNA nanotechnology when I realized that DNA with its programmability could finally provide the universal tool to build structures with arbitrary complexity. Ever since, I have been obsessed with harnessing the power of molecular programming to reach my vision.