Faculty 2018

Michael Bershadsky


Michael Bershadsky got his PhD in physics from Princeton University in 1990. Immediately after this he came to Harvard University, where he was on the faculty until 2000. In 2000 he resigned from Harvard University and joined a private company.


Victoria Bershadsky

Financial/Administrative Coordinator

Victoria has a degree in Economics and Art History. She worked with numerous cultural organizations and was involved in various history, art, and anthropology programs. Victoria still spends a lot of time on arts and history. At SigmaCamp Victoria wants to show a different angle of life by opening up the world beyond science.


Anya Cartwright

Art Teacher, SchoolNova, "Running With Color" Art studio

Anya Cartwright is currently working as an Art teacher at SchoolNova, as well as at "Running With Colors" Art studio. Her education, work background  and present projects include photography, computer graphics and illustration. Anya's interests include alternative photographic processes, micro and studio photography, concept art, ceramics and woodwork. A special place in Anya's heart belongs to wildlife. She loves hiking, birdwatching and interacting with animals. As a hobby, Anya and her husband Peter are working together on compilation of wildflower and fungi field-guides through watercolor illustration, micro photography and Peter's writing.


Sergei Dubovsky

Associate Professor of Physics, Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, Physics Department, New York University.

Sergei Dubovsky received his PhD in physics in 2001 from INR (Moscow, Russia). He served as a junior research fellow at CERN, Harvard and Stanford before joining the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics at NYU in 2010. He is currently also a Visiting Senior Faculty at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Waterloo, Canada). Sergei works on the interface of string theory, particle physics, and cosmology.


Ekaterina Eremenko

Documentary Filmmaker, EEFilms and Technical University Berlin

Eremenko graduated with Honours in mathematics from Moscow State University and from VGIK film school in Russia. Her films were co-produced and broadcast by leading European TV Channels, such as BBC, ARTE, ZDF, RBB, MDR, YLE, ORT, Swiss TV, NHK etc. and obtained many prices at international film festivals. Since 2012, with Colors of Math, Eremenko focused on producing science films, particularly about mathematics and physics. From 2015 Eremenko is making short films for the Abel prize Ceremony, sponsored by the Norway Academy of Science and Letters. Eremenko has worked at Technical University Berlin since 2013.


Jaime Ide

Associate Research Scientist, Psychiatry Department, Yale University

Jaime Ide is a Mechatronic engineer that became Computational Neuroscientist and Data Scientist. He got his Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (2005), and received his training in MR imaging at the University of Pennsylvania (2007-2008) and Yale University (2008-2010). Broadly, he is interested in the application of Bayesian methods, computational modeling, and machine learning in cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, decision-making, as well as in real-world predictive problems. He is passionate about robotics, chess, and table tennis.


Natalia Ilina


Hello! I am Natalia, owner of Green Ray Studio greenray-studio.com I am based on Long Island, New York and specialize in Personal Brand Photography for entrepreneurs and influencers who want to grow their personal brand. I love to produce photos that tell a story, or portray the joy of discovery, or re-create a particularly memorable point in time.

I received an engineering degree in multichannel telecommunications from Bonch-Bruevich St. Petersburg State University of Telecommunications and have studied professional photography in The New York Institute of Photography.

I proud to photograph SigmaCamp from 2014. I love capturing human relations, characters and emotions, especially when people learn new things, experience joy of discovery and share their lives’ passions. All of those are abundant at SigmaCamp, that’s why I’m so excited to be part of it.


Oksana Ivashkevych

Control Engineer, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook University, NY

Oksana is a physicist by training, graduate of Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology with a Master of Science in Engineering Optics and Laser Physics. She currently lives in Setauket, Long Island, NY and works as a Controls Engineer in Brookhaven National Laboratory. Oksana builds beamlines for new NSLS2 synchrotron, an exciting scientific instrument with half a mile in circumference. This instrument is used to peek into atomic structures of new materials and biological samples using the rainbow of X-rays. Oksana also teaches math at School Nova. At Sigma Camp, Oksana will teach the SemiLab Fun of Electronics with Arduino.


Alexander Kirillov

Professor, Department of Mathematics, Stony Brook University, NY

Alexander Kirillov is a professor in the Math Department of Stony Brook University. His research is in representation theory, quantum invariants of knots and low-dimensional manifolds, and Topological Field Theory. He has been working with high school children, teaching math circles and gifted classes since his own high school graduation. In addition to math, he also enjoys hiking, volleyball, and robotics - he is the coach of Islandbots robotics club.


Marina Kreydina

SigmaCamp Associate Director

Marina Kreydina has a degree in Physical Education and Sports Management. Nowadays she is engaged in medical business management. Marina loves specialized summer camps and has been a staff member of a number of them. She has been a member of the Sigma Camp staff since 2013 and is returning this summer.


Mikhail Lyubich

Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Institute for Math Science

at the Stony Brook University. Misha has been working on dynamical systems given by simple formulas in low dimensions but exhibiting an interesting chaotic behavior and producing intricate fractal objects. It is concerned, in particular, with the real and complex quadratic family. Fractal objects like Julia sets and the Mandelbrot set naturally emerge in this context. He has dedicated a lot of effort exploring their universal self-similar structure encoded by a scary term (coming from physics) ``renormalization".


Mark Lukin

Research Assistant Professor, Pharmacology Department, Stony Brook University, NY

The focus of Mark Lukin's scientific interest are nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) - the molecules responsible for storage and transfer of hereditary information in living organisms. How does DNA get copied? What happens when DNA molecules breaks? To answer these, as well as many other questions, Mark needs to prepare artificial (modified) nucleic acids and their building blocks, the crazy compounds that normally do not exist in nature. The only way obtain them is to do a chemical synthesis, the thing Mark likes the most. Besides that, Mark loves music, history, Greek philosophy, and science fiction. When he was young, he loved to do simple but spectacular chemical experiments. Recently, he realized he still loves to do that. He plans to do some of those experiments in SigmaCamp 2018 with our campers.


Lilianne R. Mujica-Parodi

Lilianne Mujica-Parodi received her Ph.D. from Columbia University, studying mathematical logic and its applications to certain puzzling aspects of quantum mechanics.  She is Director of the Laboratory for Computational Neurodiagnostics, Professor in Stony Brook University's Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Associate Neuroscientist in the Department of Radiology at the A. A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging (Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School).

Lily's research looks at human brain circuits from an engineering perspective, with a focus on the process and dynamics by which mechanisms of network failure lead to psychiatric and neurological diseases. As a hobby, she likes to befriend wild animals (this picture was taken in Australia, with a young kangaroo).


Sabya Mukherjee

Lecturer, Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Stony Brook University, NY

Sabya received his PhD in Mathematics from Jacobs University Bremen, Germany in 2015. His main research interest is in dynamical systems, especially in the topological and fractal properties of parameter spaces of holomorphic dynamical systems. He has been a part of the organizing committees of various math summer schools in the past.


Nikita Nekrasov

Professor at Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, Stony Brook University, NY

Nikita Nekrasov was born in Moscow, Russia. He studied at Moscow Physical-Technical Institute, and later at Princeton University, where he received his PhD in physics. He worked at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in France, before coming to Stony Brook University where he works as a professor at Simons Center for Geometry and Physics. His research lies at the intersection of theoretical high energy physics and mathematics.


Eugene Pinkhassik

Associate Professor, University of Connecticut

Eugene Pinkhassik graduated from Kazan State University in Russia and obtained his PhD in Chemistry in the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, Czech Republic. After a visiting scientist stay in Parma, Italy and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he began an independent faculty career. He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut. His research interests focus on making nanomaterials and nanodevices with new and superior properties to address current problems in energy-related technologies, medical imaging and treatment, and environmental sensing.


Boris Podobedov

Physicist, Energy and Photon Sciences Directorate, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Boris got his PhD from the Stanford University Department of Applied Physics. His expertise is to design, build, and operate large particle accelerators. These are mostly used as research tools for high energy physics, or serve as light sources providing powerful X-ray beams to researchers from many different fields of science. At Brookhaven Lab Boris contributed to numerous accelerator upgrades and provided accelerator physics support to the presently decommissioned National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS). Over the past decade he was also heavily involved in the R&D work of the Brookhaven brand new light source, NSLS-II, a billion dollar facility that has just started user operations. As you might guess, Boris’ job has a lot to do with all aspects of electricity and magnetism, and this is exactly the topic of the Semilab he is teaching at SigmaCamp. For fun, he really enjoys fishing as well as playing ping-pong. Finally, Boris also is rather tolerant to all kinds of geeky teenagers, even to the extent of hosting an FTC robotics team in his basement for the fourth year in a row.


Eugenia Poliakov

Staff Scientist, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Eugenia Poliakov obtained her Master degree in chemistry from Moscow State University, Russia in 1996, doctoral degree in Chemistry from the Case Western University, Chemistry Department, Cleveland, OH in 2001. She completed her postdoctoral training at the National Eye Institute, NIH. She joined LRCMB, NEI as staff scientist in November 2006.  Her major scientific focus is beta-carotene oxygenases 1 and 2 and their role in carotenoid (fat-soluble vitamins) metabolism and vitamin A biosynthesis. She is focused on the design of small molecules inhibitors for carotene oxygenases and closely related enzyme RPE65 isomerase which is required for human vision.


Igor Rogozin

Staff Scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, NIH

Igor Rogozin received his PhD in computational biology from the Novosibirsk State University in 1992. After that he was serving as a visiting scientist at the Institute of Advanced Technologies in Milan and completed his postdoctoral training at Penn State University.

For the last 15 years, he has been working on various aspects of molecular evolution and comparative genomics at the National Institute of Health. He is interested in comparative analysis of completely sequenced genomes, population genomics of human diseases, analysis of long non-coding RNAs, phylogenetic analysis of sequences, theoretical analysis of mutagenesis, genome biology of carcinogenesis, analysis of functional regions and signals in biological sequences, and the computational analysis of immune systems.


Ioulia Rouzina

Research Assistant Professor, Ohio State University

Ioulia Rouzina graduated from St. Petersburg Physics Technical University with PhD in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics. She later moved to Minnesota where she joined the Biophysics lab working on understanding how various proteins interact with DNA and condense it in the nucleus, and how individual DNA molecule can unwind its two strands under the mechanical tension. Ioulia is now a research assistant professor at Ohio State University in Columbus working on molecular biology of HIV and other retroviruses. We are now trying to understand how HIV selects its RNA genome for packaging, and how the HIV capsid falls apart after infecting the cell.


Yuri Salkinder

Managing Director, Electronic Trading Technology, Credit Suisse Securities (USA)

Yuri Salkinder’s career spanned academia, telecommunications and financial technology. Yuri started in research in human-computer interaction, then moved on to help create software development tools for Voice response systems. He participated in creation of some standards in wireless messaging. Nowadays Yuri is dealing with messaging of another kind – the one that fuels electronic financial markets. Yuri loves art, music, movies and good math puzzles. Yuri has been a member of the Sigma Camp staff since 2013 and is returning this summer.


Helmut H. Strey

Director of the Laboratory for Micro- and Nanotechnologies (www.streylab.com) and Associate Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Stony Brook University.

Helmut Strey is a Biophysicist who is interested in developing micro- and nanotechnologies for applications in basic and applied research.  Specifically, his lab is working on 1) microfluidic techniques for single-cell cancer genomics, 2) study of DNA dynamics in confined geometries to understand how gene regulation works, 3) developing wireless biosensors for home sleep studies.  Helmut received the Dillon medal for research in Polymer Physics from the American Physical Society in 2003.  He recently converted to Bayesianism and is passionate about making things, Soccer and Table Tennis.  


Inna Sus

Scientific Editor

She was a visiting scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she worked on various projects related to computational materials. Currently, she is a scientific editor reviewing research papers in Physics and Astronomy.




Alexei Tkachenko

Theory & Computation, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY

Alexei Tkachenko is a theoretical physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory working on nanoscience and in the field called soft condensed matter. He studies problems that range from from living matter (DNA, proteins, membranes) to nanoparticles, plastics and even sand. He also teaches physics at School Nova. At SigmaCamp, Alexei, together with Tanya Zaliznyak, is responsible for the tastiest of all the semilabs, called "The Science of Cooking".


Elena Yakubovskaya

Research Scientist, Pharmacology Department, Stony Brook University, NY
SigmaCamp Director

Lena is a molecular biologist. The primary subject of her interest is  the protein-DNA interactions and Lena has studied many of them using such state-of-the-art techniques as X-rays diffraction, electron microscopy, various spectroscopic methods. However, during her work, Lena came to a conclusion that even the most sophisticated device does not make you smarter: Despite the stunning technological progress, humans’ own brain still is their most powerful tool. The thing Lena likes the most is the company of intellectual like-minded people. Lena and her friends got together every summer to talk about science, art and music. Then they realized that their group would be incomplete without a young generation, so they invited motivated and talented kids to join their company, which they called Sigma.


Igor Zaliznyak

Physicist, Neutron Scattering, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY

Igor Zaliznyak is a Physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He uses scattering of neutron particles to study microscopic magnetism in various materials, searching to discover and understand such properties that would lead to future technological advances. In his everyday professional activity, various aspects of Physics and Mathematics, many of which are already taught in high school, are used in a quest to understand how the nature works. Igor is eager to share his passion for science and enthusiasm for experimentation with students, introducing them to various aspects of Physics and Math that are used in his everyday research. Igor firmly believes that physical and mathematical knowledge and erudition acquired at school age, on par with arts and literature, makes for a unique individual, and provides solid foundation for everybody's success in his/her future life. In his free time, Igor likes to read popular Math and Science books and solve problems, puzzles and brain teasers. He also taught 9th and 10th grade Math at School Nova.


Tatiana Zaliznyak

Pharmacology Department, Stony Brook University, NY

Tanya Zaliznyak is a research scientist in the pharmacology department at Stony Brook University. Her scientific interest lies in the field of structural biology and molecular modeling. She loves to use her knowledge of physics, chemistry and biology in the kitchen, creating tasty dishes that satisfy her passion for cooking.



Natasha Zayfman

Math Teacher, Louis Armstrong Middle School, Queens, NY 

Natasha Zayfman teaches math in a public school in New York City. She was always passionate about math and very curious about how mathematical sense develops in young children. Natasha enjoys watching her students discover mathematical concepts every day. Natasha is also a coach for her school's robotics team. She is very excited to be joining SigmaCamp 2018.