Maria Kamenetska

Maria Kamenetska

Office: LSE, Room 907. 617-358-3334


Research Interests:

Nano-materials, single molecule techniques, biophysics:

Our group develops and uses novel single molecule nano-manipulation, detection and spectroscopy techniques in order to understand and control how the structure of the intermolecular interface affects function in biological and man-made devices. Current projects include electron transport measurements in 1D Metal chains and DNA, single molecule biophysics of DNA-protein complexes and methods development for novel single molecule spectroscopies.

Selected Publications:

“An Optical Tweezer Platform for Single Molecule Force Spectroscopy in Organic Solvents”, J. Black, M. Kamenetska, Z. Ganim, Nano Lett. (2017)

“Temperature Dependent Conductance of Single Molecule Junctions”, M. Kamenetska, J. Widawsky, M. Dell’angela, M. Frei, L. Venkataraman, J. Phys. Chem, 146, 092311, (2017)

“Routes to DNA Accessibility: Alternative Pathways to Nucleosome Unwinding”, DJ Schlingman, AH Mack, M Kamenetska, SGJ Mochrie, L Regan, Biophys J, 107 (2) 384-392 (2014)

“Conductance and Geometry of Pyridine-Linked Single-Molecule Junctions”, Kamenetska, M.; Quek, S. Y.; Whalley, A. C.; Steigerwald, M. L.; Choi, H. J.; Louie, S. G.; Nuckolls, C.; Hybertsen, M. S.; Neaton, J. B.; Venkataraman, L, JACS, 132, (19), 6817-6821, (2010).

“Formation and Evolution of Single-Molecule Junctions”, Kamenetska, M.; Koentopp, M.; Whalley, A.; Park, Y. S.; Steigerwald, M.; Nuckolls, C.; Hybertsen, M.; Venkataraman, L, Physical Review Letters, 102, (12), 126803 (2009).

For a full list of publications, please see the attached CV.


  • Ph.D. with Distinction in Applied Physics, Columbia University
  • M.S. in Applied Physics, Columbia Univeristy
  • B.S. in Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Masha holds a joint appointment as assistant professor in departments of Chemistry and Physics. She is also a member of Material Science & Engineering, as well as the Nanotechnology Innovation Center. Prior to joining BU in 2017, she was a Postdoctoral Associate in Chemistry at Yale University working with Ziad Ganim from 2015-2017 and an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow also at Yale in Biophysics and Biochemistry from 2012-2014. She received her PhD with distinction in 2012 in Applied Physics from Columbia University where she worked with Latha Venkataraman. She received her BS from MIT in 2005 and is very happy to be back in Boston.

Research Descriptions:

Condensed Matter Experiment, Biophysics, nano-devices

As matter is confined in one or two dimensions to the nanometer scale and smaller, unusual properties begin to dominate. The ~1 nm regime is where physics meets chemistry--materials approach atomic dimensions and can no longer be described by bulk properties. In order to create devices on these size scales, we must learn to probe the atomic structure of single molecule systems while simultaneously measuring their function. My lab develops experimental approaches that allow such multi-probe measurements on the nanometer scale in both biological and semiconducting materials. Methods include Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Break Junction, Atomic Force Microscopy, Optical Tweezers and Raman Spectroscopy. We are working to combine existing measurements in novel ways and invent new single-molecule sensing probes. Our vision is for label-free, sub-diffraction-limit investigation and control of single molecule machines. Questions we would like to answer include: What determines electron charge transport in metal-molecule-metal junctions and how can we control it? How does the nature of the interface between a DNA-molecule and a histone protein affect nucleosome dynamics and function? How can we combine single molecule spectroscopy techniques with nanomanipulation and force measurements?