Lena F. Kourkoutis received her undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of Rostock, Germany. In 2003 she moved to Ithaca where she completed her Ph.D. under the supervision of David A. Muller and contributed to the development of atomic-resolution spectroscopic imaging of crystalline materials.
As a Humboldt Research Fellow, she was then trained in cryo-electron microscopy in the Molecular Structural Biology Group of Wolfgang Baumeister at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. She returned to Cornell University and joined the Applied and Engineering Physics Faculty in 2013.
Her electron microscopy group focuses on understanding and controlling nanostructured materials, from quantum materials to materials for energy to biomaterials. They have 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.
For her contributions to the field of microscopy, Kourkoutis was awarded the 2013 Albert Crewe Award and the 2018 Burton Medal from the Microscopy Society of America. She is also the recipient of a 2014 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering and a 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.