Anikeeva menitoned as a "hero of science" for unlocking the brain
October 3, 2018
Five foot three and compact as a gazelle, Anikeeva is a marathon runner, a rock climber, and one heck of a scientist. She was born to a pair of mechanical engineers in the former Soviet Union, where she so excelled at academics that she was moved to an elite high school, then majored in physics in college. After stints at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, she got a Ph.D. (at MIT) in a field called optoelectronics, where she worked on a light-emitting nanomaterial technology called quantum dots that was licensed to a startup that was later bought by Samsung. Also: She has a habit of barreling down the halls like a tiny cruise missile, fluttering the flyers on the bulletin boards. You almost want to flatten yourself against the wall. Unsurprisingly, after five and a half years of studying nano-optoelectronics, light-emitting quantum dots started to bore Anikeeva. Improvements in the field came slowly and incrementally, while she wanted to invent fantastical things that didn’t exist. There were few scientific areas where that was a possibility anymore. Neuroscience, though, was a field in its toddlerhood, where it was still possible for a scientist to do big, exciting work. So Anikeeva secured a two-year post-doc in a neuroscience lab at Stanford. She started to think about opening her own lab.