Anna Pyayt

Anna Pyayt
  • Year of graduation
  • Post
    University of South Florida Dept of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering


Dr. Anna Pyayt is an Assistant Professor of at the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Florida. She joined USF after being an NSF Computer Innovation Fellow and Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford University.

Anna earned her dual Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Nanotechnology from the University of Washington.


  • Telescopic Pixel (a competitor to LCD) that Dr. Pyayt created in collaboration with Microsoft Research gained international media attention and was highlighted in high-profile journals, like Nature, and other top scientific venues. The original publication was translated into more than 30 languages worldwide.
  • Novel optical interconnect between a photonic and multiple plasmonic waveguides enabling fabrication of new Biomedical nano-chips (published in Nature Nanotechnology).


Why did you decide to study at ITMO?

I heard a lot about ITMO and knew that I would study with the smartest students, winners of numerous contests and that our instructors would be great. I’m really glad I made the right choice.

What do you remember the most about your time at ITMO? Projects, equipment, cafeteria?

There were many fun projects, they were challenging, but that’s what made education great.

Which instructors do you remember the most? Who influenced you the most?

We had truly world-class instructors. I remember many of them and I’m very grateful to them for our training.

What Department did you graduate from? What was it like?

I studied at Computational Technologies and at Optoinformatics. I loved both. Everyone was very active, talented, participated in many conferences and won numerous contests.

What was your first place of employment after graduation? What did you do there?

I got into a PhD program at the University of Washington and earned a dual PhD in Electrical Engineering and Nanotechnology. After that, I became a postdoc and a Computer Innovation Fellow at Stanford University.

Do you keep in touch with your classmates? What do they do now?

Yes, they’re all doing something exciting and important. Our education was a key factor in that.

Are you currently working in the same field as your major?

Yes, I’ve always loved science, and my work is still closely related to it.

What do you do?

I’m an Assistant Professor. I do research and teach.

How did your education at ITMO help your career? What are its strengths?

ITMO provided a strong foundation. With it, you could pursue a lot of things. Some alumni became successful in science, some in finance or programming.

What advice can you give the graduates to help them reach their potential?

Do what you truly like.

What are some of the promising areas for students right now?

Whatever I say right now will be outdated in a couple of years. Find the right mentor, and they’ll help you find the best research topic. 

Awards and Honors 

  • Young Investigator award from North American Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy (NASSHP) (2015)
  • Finalist of the Vodafone Americas Foundation Annual Wireless Innovation Project (2015)
  • Sweet 16 in Cade Museum Competition (2015)
  • Finalist of the XPRIZE Nokia Sensing Xchallenge (2014)
  • Semi-finalist of the SPIE Challenge (2014)
  • New Researcher Grant (NRG) Award (2014)
  • Research highlighted in Science: (2014)
  • Winners of the 2013 NSF/Science International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge (2014)
  • Global Center for Hearing & Speech Research- GCHSR Research Grant (2013)
  • Computing Innovation Fellow (2009, 2010)
  • Microsoft Research Fellow (2007, 2008)
  • Society of Women Engineers' Outstanding Female Award (2007)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering Chair’s award (2006)
  • SPIE Educational Scholarship in Optical Science and Engineering four times in a row (2006, 2005, 2004, 2003)
  • Nanotechnology UIF Graduate Research award for 2004-05 for the research titled "Novel wavelength selective switch based on new electro-optical materials and nano-fabrication technique"
  • Electrical Engineering Young Innovator Fellowship (2003)
  • Clarendon Fund Award to support graduate study (3 years) at Oxford, UK
  • Student support of the attendance of CLEO/Europe-EQEC 2003 in Munich (2003)
  • Travel Grant of Russian Foundation for Basic Research (2003, 2000)
  • Scholarship of Holographic school of Denisyuk (2002)
  • Student Travel Grant of SPIE (2002, 2000)
  • Diploma for the best scientific student paper from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (2001)
  • Scholarship of the President of the Russian Federation (2001)
  • Winner of Saint-Petersburg grant competition for undergraduate and graduate students, young scientists and specialists (2000)
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