Polina Anikeeva Named One of Top 35 Innovators

Left brain, right brain; science and logic, creativity and intuition. We’ve long been separating these ways of thinking, but it’s exactly by joining them that Polina Anikeeva, 2015 spring speaker, became one of MIT Technology Review’s 2015 35 Innovators Under 35.

Polina AnikeevaAs an assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and a principle investigator of the Bioelectronics group, Polina is researching new ways to record and stimulate brain activity. Unsurprisingly, this is not the first award her work at the interface of materials science and neurobiology has earned her. Previously, Polina was awarded a number of junior faculty distinctions at MIT including the NSF CAREER and DARPA Young Faculty Award.

Polina’s work came out of an observed need for smaller and more precise tools in neuroscience, specifically when investigating brain function. Today, she’s exploring how to make these tools a reality through optoelectronic, fiber-based, and magnetic approaches to minimally invasive neural interrogation. Her group was first to demonstrate multifunctional flexible fibers for simultaneous optical stimulation, electrical recording and drug delivery in the brain and spinal cord, as well as magnetic nanomaterials for wireless magnetic deep brain stimulation.

And they’re still making progress and forging forward. As stated in Polina’s interview with MIT Technology Review, in the future they’re trying to “push the resolution of our recording and stimulation capability, which will allow us to decipher those neural circuits. If you’re trying to, say, restore function after spinal-cord injury, if we were able to record signals from both sides [of the injury] and convert them into patterns of stimulation, we would be able to start building a synthetic bridge across that connection.”

We’ll be checking in with Polina and her research, as well as with other past TEDxCambridge speakers, in a new interview blog series for TEDxCambridge.com.

For now, a big congratulations to Polina and her team on this most recent honor. We’re proud to have you in the TEDxCambridge family!