Faculty 2021

Alexei Borodin 

Professor, Department of Mathematics, MIT

Alexei received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001. He was a professor at Caltech in 2003-2010, and since 2010 he is a professor of mathematics at MIT. Alexei enjoys working on problems on the interface of algebra and probability.

Sofya Raskhodnikova

Professor, Department of Computer Science, Boston University

Sofya received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in mathematics and computer science from MIT. She works in the areas of randomized and approximation algorithms and also data privacy. These areas are part of theoretical computer science. Before joining the faculty at Sigma, Sofya taught at Epsilon Camp and C.A.M.P. (Camp for Algorithmic and Mathematical Play). Her best memories of her childhood are from a math camp she attended in Belarus. As far as her hobbies go, recall that she works on privacy. 


Adam D. Smith 

Professor, Department of Computer Science, Boston University

Adam is a computer scientist at Boston University, where he is a founding member of the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences. His areas of research include cryptography and information privacy. He is known, along with Cynthia Dwork, Frank McSherry, and Kobbi Nissim, as one of the co-inventors of differential privacy, for which he won the 2017 Gödel Prize.


Boris Podobedov 

Physicist, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Boris is an accelerator physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). He 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 colliders for high energy and nuclear physics research, or serve as light sources that provide powerful X-ray beams to researchers in many different fields of science. Having spent two decades working with light source accelerators at BNL and elsewhere, Boris recently joined the Electron-Ion Collider project at Brookhaven, which will be building the most powerful collider-accelerator in the US. 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 Sigma. 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 seventh year in a row.


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.


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.


Sasha Kuznetsov

Art Program Coordinator

Sasha is a Brooklyn-based artist who has lived in the New York City area since age one, when his family came to the US from St. Petersburg, Russia. Since graduating from the Cooper Union in 2013 with a degree in Fine Arts, he has continuously worked part-time as an art or art history teacher, and he has experience teaching students of all ages from 3 years old to adult. Alongside teaching art, Sasha has held various full-time jobs including being an Art Handler and Installer at a large auction house, being a designer at a firm specializing in awards and trophies, and even working as a lead pre-K teacher. Currently, he works as a graphics designer and event coordinator and has been moving into the world of User Experience (UX) Design. Outside of work, Sasha is constantly trying to find ways to be creative and enjoys painting, drawing, making music, and designing games. He also gives museum tours at several NYC museums, primarily at the Metropolitan Musuem of Art.


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 and Algorithms with Python..


Yakov Kononov 

Assistant Professor, Yale University

I obtained a PhD degree from Columbia University under the supervision of Andrei Okounkov. Currently I am an assistant professor at Yale. My main research area is mathematical physics, in particular various mathematical structures arising in quantum field theory and string theory. Besides mathematics, I love music and playing piano.


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.

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.


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 R. Mujica-Parodi is Director of the Laboratory for Computational Neurodiagnostics, and Professor in Stony Brook University's Department of Biomedical Engineering.  She also holds academic appointments in the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology, Program in Neuroscience, and Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Physics.   In addition, she is Research Staff Scientist and Lecturer in the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School (Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging). Dr. Mujica-Parodi received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Georgetown University and Columbia University, respectively, studying mathematical logic and foundations of physics. After her Ph.D. (Niles G. Whiting Fellow), she completed an NIH Training Fellowship in Clinical Neuroscience at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.  She was subsequently promoted to Assistant Professor there, where she performed research until being recruited by Stony Brook University.  She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Career Award, the United States Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, and the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award.  Dr. Mujica-Parodi‘s research extends control systems engineering and dynamical systems to human neuroimaging (fMRI, M/EEG, NIRS, ECOG, MRS, PET), with applications to neurological and psychiatric disorders.



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.


Yuri Salkinder

Managing Director, Equities 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.


Evgenii Boryushkin 

Research Scientist, Cancer Center, Stony Brook Medicine, NY

Evgenii Boriushkin is originally from Russia where he earned both his MD and PhD degrees with a research interest in vascular biology, angiogenesis, and cancer metabolism. During his career, he works on hidden secrets of biology and applies this knowledge for the development of new therapies. At SigmaCamp, Evgenii will show how the understanding of nature helps to solve scientific and medical problems. In his free time, Evgenii enjoys soccer, volleyball, and hiking.


Artem Krantsevich

Postdoc, Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Stony Brook University, NY

Pure mathematician by training, Artem did his PhD in Computational Biology and currently he uses mathematical methods to analyze DNA mutations created as a part of immune response. One of his main focusses is developing (and understanding!) Neural Networks to predict potential mutations at the level surpassing current human knowledge. He views Neural Networks as his colleagues, who are extremely talented in finding mathematical patterns, but at the same time have extremely poor communication skills. So, understanding how (and what) Neural Networks "think" about DNA is substantial part of Artem's work.
Outside of work Artem is a crazy walker (his current walk to work is 3 miles) and an avid reader. He appreciates a beautiful poem and believes that poetry is half art and half math. Also Artem likes to think about things from the evolutionary perspective (he views evolution rather as a mathematical concept which can be applied to practically anything) and is always ready for a deep conversation on philosophy or history!


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".


Anar Amgalan

Postdoctoral scholar, University of Southern California

Anar is a neuroscientist. His background in physics and mathematics helps him solve computational problems arising in human brain at scales from a single neuron to the entire brain network. He also tries to predict what will happen to our brains as we age. In the past, he taught the Codes and Ciphers semilab. This year he will be teaching a semilab on games and how to play your best against the best possible opponent.