Angela Belcher, PhD



(617) 324-2800
James Mason Crafts Professor of Biological Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering
Head, Department of Biological Engineering


Organic-inorganic interface engineering
Synthetic biology


Member, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research


Prof. Belcher attended the University of California – Santa Barbara for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She obtained her B.S. in Creative Studies in 1991 and her PhD in Chemistry in 1997, unraveling the ways in which proteins can direct the material properties of minerals. Belcher joined the MIT faculty in 2001 as Professor in the Departments of Biological Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering.


The Belcher lab seeks to understand and harness nature’s own processes in order to design technologically important materials and devices for energy, the environment, and medicine.

Ancient organisms have evolved to make exquisite nanostructures like shells and glassy diatoms.  Using directed evolution, the lab engineers organisms to grow and assemble novel hybrid organic-inorganic electronic, magnetic, and catalytic materials.  In doing so, the group capitalizes on many of the wonderful properties of biology – using only non-toxic materials, employing self-repair mechanisms, self-assembling precisely and over longer ranges, adapting & evolving to become better over time.  These materials have been used in applications as varied as solar cells, batteries, medical diagnostics and basic single molecule interactions related to disease.

Research Areas: 

Selected Publications:

Lee, Yun Jung, Hyunjung Yi, Woo-Jae Kim, Kisuk Kang, Dong Soo Yun, Michael S. Strano, Gerbrand Ceder, and Angela M. Belcher. "Fabricating genetically engineered high-power lithium-ion batteries using multiple virus genes." Science 324, no. 5930 (2009): 1051-5.
Oh, Dahyun, Jifa Qi, Yi-Chun Lu, Yong Zhang, Yang Shao-Horn, and Angela M. Belcher. "Biologically enhanced cathode design for improved capacity and cycle life for lithium-oxygen batteries." Nat Commun 4 (2013): 2756.
Dang, Xiangnan, Jifa Qi, Matthew T. Klug, Po-Yen Chen, Dong Soo Yun, Nicholas X. Fang, Paula T. Hammond, and Angela M. Belcher. "Tunable localized surface plasmon-enabled broadband light-harvesting enhancement for high-efficiency panchromatic dye-sensitized solar cells." Nano Lett 13, no. 2 (2013): 637-42.