In Memory of Lena Kourkoutis, Renowned Electron Microscopist and Mentor

MAS is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our colleague and friend, Lena Kourkoutis.

Prof. Dr. Lena Kourkoutis was internationally recognized for her advances in cryo-electron microscopy. Her electron microscopy group at Cornell University focuses on understanding and controlling nanostructured materials, from quantum materials to materials for energy to biomaterials. They developed new cryogenic scanning transmission electron microscopy techniques to gain access to low-temperature electronic states, to study processes at liquid/solid interfaces, and to image thick biological specimens.

She received her undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Rostock, Germany, in 2003 and moved to Ithaca to pursue a Ph.D. in applied physics, which she completed in 2009. After conducting research in cryo-electron microscopy as a Humboldt Research Fellow in the Molecular Structural Biology Group at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany, Kourkoutis became a faculty member at Cornell University in 2013.

For her contributions to the field of microscopy, she received numerous awards. In 2020, she was the recipient of the 2020 MAS K.F.J. Heinrich Award and the MAS Cosslett Award. She was also honored with the 2013 Albert Crewe Award and the 2018 Burton Medal from the Microscopy Society of America as well as the 2014 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering and a 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

She will not only be remembered for her research but also for her passion, kindness and mentorship by her students, colleagues and MAS members. Our condolences go out to her family and colleagues.

More information on her life and achievements can be found here:

Dr. Lena Kourkoutis