Meni Wanunu, developer of sensitive biological sensors, receives Northeastern University NAI Innovator of the Year Award

Meni Wanunu works with small things — very small things, like individual molecules. But how can researchers observe the inner workings of something so miniscule?

For advancements in sensors that stretch and scan molecules on their own level, Wanunu has received the Innovator of the Year Award from the Northeastern University chapter of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Professor of both physics and chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern University, as well as the principal investigator of the Nanoscale Biophysics Laboratory, Wanunu develops sensors called nanopores, whose primary attributes are tiny holes on the molecular scale.

Wanunu began making nanopores in his postdoctoral work by shooting electron beams through a thin membrane, “and it would just puncture very small holes the size of a few atoms across,” he says.

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Photo courtesy of Wanunu and his lab.

Chemistry and Chemical Biology