Ivana Nikolic Hughes


Ivana Nikolic Hughes is the Director of the K=1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies, Director of Frontiers of Science, and a Senior Lecturer in Discipline in the Department of Chemistry at Columbia. Ivana graduated from Caltech in 1999 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with Honors, where she did her Senior Thesis with Frances Arnold, the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018. In graduate school, Ivana was an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellow and earned her PhD from Stanford University in 2005 in the laboratory of the National Academy of Sciences member Daniel Herschlag in the Department of Biochemistry. The topic of her PhD was enzymatic catalysis and protein evolution in the alkaline phosphatase superfamily.

Ivana has been at Columbia since 2008. She started teaching in Frontiers of Science in 2009 and took over the responsibility of running the course in 2011. At Columbia, Ivana has served as a University Senator (2018-2020), an active member of the Committee on Science Instruction and the Committee on the Core, and advisory board member of the Columbia University Science Journal. She has also been the recipent of the Provost Large Scale Teaching Award and the Global Scholars Program grant. She frequently gives talks at Columbia and in other university settings, as well as in other public venues and events.

In her work leading the K=1 Project, Ivana combines an interest in global issues with her deep commitment to teaching and mentoring undergraduate students with different academic backgrounds on topics at the intersection of science and society. Ivana's responsibilities lie in overseeing the operations and programming of the Center. Recent work on ascertaining the radiological conditions in the Marshall Islands has been covered widely in both national and international media.