Charles M. Lieber

Charles M. Lieber

  • Joshua and Beth Friedman University Professor


Charles M. Lieber was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1959. He attended Franklin and Marshall College for his undergraduate education and graduated with honors in Chemistry. After doctoral studies at Stanford University and postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology, he moved to the east coast in 1987 to assume the position of Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University. Here Lieber embarked upon a new research program addressing the synthesis and properties of low-dimensional materials. He moved to Harvard University in 1991 and now holds a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, as the Mark Hyman Professor of Chemistry, and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He has served as the Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology since 2015. Lieber is Co-Editor of the journal Nano Letters, and serves on the Editorial and Advisory Boards of many science and technology journals. Lieber has published over 380 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is the principal inventor on more than 50 issued U.S. patents. Lieber has been active in commercializing nanotechnology, and founded the nanotechnology company Nanosys, Inc. in 2001 and the nanosensor company Vista Therapeutics in 2007.

At Harvard, Lieber has pioneered the synthesis of a broad range of nanoscale materials, the characterization of the unique physical properties of these materials and the development of methods of hierarchical assembly of nanoscale wires, together with the demonstration of applications of these materials in areas ranging from electronics, computing, photonics, and energy science to biology and medicine.

Over the past decade, the development of nanoelectronics-enabled cellular tools of increasing sophistication and power has become a central focus in Lieber’s laboratory. Examples of this work include integration of arrays of nanowire transistors with neurons at the scale that the brain is wired biologically, mapping functional activity in acute brain slices with high spatiotemporal resolution, and a 3D structure capable of interfacing with complex neural networks. Using macroporous 3D sensor arrays as tissue scaffolds to mimic the structure of natural tissue, he generated synthetic tissues that can be innervated in 3D. Lieber’s current work also focuses on integrating electronics in a non-invasive manner within the central nervous system. Most recently, he has demonstrated that this polymer-like mesh electronics can be injected by syringe to position devices in a chosen region of the brain. Chronic histology and multiplexed recording studies demonstrate absence of immune response and noninvasive integration of the injectable electronics with neuronal circuitry, resulting in recording stability on time scales of up to a year. The Lieber group’s concept of and focus on seamless integration of electronics with the brain to serve as a therapeutic tools capable of treating neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, stroke and traumatic injury is drawing increasing attention from the scientific and medical communities.

Contact Information

Nickname: Charlie
Office:Mallinckrodt 008
Office Phone:(617) 496-3169
Office Fax(617) 496-5442
Lab Location:006 Mallincrodt Laboratory

Other Experience & Professional Membership

  • Elected Foreign Member, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2015)
  • Elected Member, National Academy of Inventors (2013)
  • Elected Fellow, American Chemical Society (Inaugural Class) (2009)
  • Honorary Fellow, Chinese Chemical Society (2009)
  • Elected Fellow, Materials Research Society (2008)
  • Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences (2004)
  • Elected Fellow, Institute of Physics (2004)
  • Elected Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2002)
  • Elected Fellow, World Technology Network (2002)
  • Elected Fellow, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (2000)
  • Elected Fellow, American Physical Society (1996)
  • Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (1996)


  • MRS Von Hippel Award (2016)
  • Remsen Award (2016)
  • Honorary Professorship, Nankai University (2014)
  • Honorary Professorship, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2014)
  • Nano Research Award, Tsinghua University Press/Springer (2013)
  • IEEE Nanotechnology Pioneer Award (2013)
  • Willard Gibbs Medal (2013)
  • Wolf Prize in Chemistry (2012)
  • Honorary Professorship, University of Science and Technology Beijing (2011)
  • Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience, Materials Research Society (2010)
  • Friendship Award, Peoples Republic of China, 2009
  • Inorganic Nanoscience Award, ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry (2009)
  • Pioneer Award, National Institutes of Health (2008)
  • Einstein Award, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2008)
  • Honorary Professorship, Peking University (2008)
  • NBIC Research Excellence Award, University of Pennsylvania (2007)
  • Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 Award (2005)
  • ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials (2004)
  • Scientific American 50 Award in Nanotechnology and Molecular Electronics (2003)
  • Nelson W. Taylor Award, Pennsylvania State University (2003)
  • New York Intellectual Property Law Association Inventor of the Year Award (2003)
  • APS McGroddy Prize for New Materials (2003)
  • Harrison Howe Award, University of Rochester (2002)
  • Honorary Professorship, Tsinghua University (2002)
  • Honorary Professorship, University of Science and Technology of China (2002)
  • Honorary Professorship, Fudan University (2002)
  • Honorary Professorship, Zhejiang University (2002)
  • MRS Medal (2002)
  • Foresight Institute Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology (2001)
  • NSF Creativity Award (1996)
  • Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award, American Chemical Society (1995)
  • George Ledlie Prize, Harvard University (1994-1995)
  • MRS Outstanding Young Investigator Award (1993)
  • ACS Award in Pure Chemistry (1992)
  • Denkewalter Prize, Loyola University Chicago (1992)
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1990-1995)
  • Wilson Prize (1990)
  • NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (1988-1993)
  • Distinguished New Faculty Award, Dreyfus Foundation (1987)