Jia Liu, assistant professor of bioengineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has been recognized as one of the world’s top Innovators Under 35 by MIT Technology Review.
Liu, 34, was chosen for his work on flexible nanoelectronics with physical and chemical properties that mimic biological tissue, including stretchable mesh nanoelectronics that could be implanted in an animal’s brain to allow scientists to safely track electrical activity from the same neurons for years. It could also be integrated with developing tissues such as human stem cell-derived organoids, adapting to their morphological changes throughout development, which allows scientists to stably monitor the functional maturation of stem cells for cell therapy.
Liu is among a cohort of materials scientists whose work will “change what’s possible in every field of science and engineering,” according to MIT Technology Review.
This year’s innovators were chosen from more than 600 nominees by the editors of MIT Technology Review and a panel of 31 expert judges.
“This year’s class of innovators is incredibly strong and diverse. Everyone on this list is doing work that’s making a real impact,” says Amy Nordrum, editorial director for special projects and operations. “These are the people to watch if you want to see what happens at the leading edge of technology in the years ahead.”
At SEAS, Liu’s group brings together researchers from a range of disciplines to develop advanced bioelectronics that integrate nanoelectronics, soft electronics, genetic and genomic engineering, and machine learning to interface with biological systems.
Liu’s team aims to use these advanced bioelectronics to study questions in neuroscience, and develop diagnostic and therapeutic methods for neurological, cardiovascular and developmental diseases. Liu’s team also aims to use these advanced bioelectronics to build scalable brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). Liu co-founded a BMI company, Axoft, Inc. in 2021, which is developing innovations from his lab toward commercial applications.
Liu received his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 2014. He then moved to Stanford University in 2015 to complete a postdoctoral fellowship and returned to Harvard as an assistant professor in 2019.
Liu joins a prestigious group of past honorees, including colleagues Prineha Narang, Conor Walsh, Robert Wood, and Donhee Ham, and former SEAS student and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.