Ksenia Bravaya

Professor Ksenia Bravaya

Degrees and Positions

  • M.Sc. (cum laude), Lomonosov Moscow State University, 2005
  • Ph.D., Lomonosov Moscow State University, 2008
  • Postdoctoral Associate, University of Southern California, 2013


    • 2011 ACS Physical Chemistry Division Postdoctoral Research Award
    • 2010 Burg Postdoctoral Teaching Award (USC)
    • 2010 WISE Merit Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research (USC)


      The research group investigates challenging electronic structure phenomena in biomolecules and systems relevant for materials, which include photoinduced processes, autoionizing electronic states, and magnetic field effects. To this end, we use and develop high-level electronic structure methods targeting processes involving multiple electronic states, chemistry of open-shell species in magnetic fields, and electronically excited and metastable systems.

      • Autoionizing electronic states – Electronic states metastable with respect to electron detachment are Scientific Image -2ubiquitous in highly energetic environment, are common as excited states of anions, and play important role in condensed phases processes, e.g. DNA damage by secondary electrons.  We develop methods combining accurate electronic structure techniques (for example EOM-CC) and theories for description of resonances position and lifetimes (complex scaling and complex-absorbing potential).
      • Avian birds magnetoreception (electronic structure of cryptochromes) – Cryptochromes are a diverse class of flavoproteins involved in a variety of biological processes, e.g. circadian clock regulation, Scientific Image -1phototropism. An intriguing question concerning these protoreceptors is  their possible involvement in a light-dependent magnetoreception in insects and animals. Using computational chemistry tools we will explore the mechanism of cryptochromes photoactivation and analyze the effect of the Earth’s magnetic field on their photophysics. To this aim, we are interested in developing ab initio techniques for perturbative treatment of spin-spin, spin-orbit, and hyperfine interactions based on the EOM-CC family of methods.

      What’s Next for Graduates of the Bravaya Group?

      Students will gain knowledge of the state-of-the-art ab initio methods, an experience with code development and modeling of large biomolecular systems, an expertise in numerical methods, and will develop advanced mathematical skills. This opens a variety of opportunities, including both academic and industry (e.g. drug design, software development, and financial sector) positions.

      Assistant Professor
      SCI 501
      Phone 617.353.2082
      Fax 617.353.6466