Anna Tarakanova

Assistant Professor


Mechanical Engineering

Research Interests

Our research focuses on advancing molecular and multiscale modeling methods to study the structure, function and mechanics of biological systems and biological and bioinspired materials. We develop computational methods for the design and characterization of novel functional materials from the nanoscale for medical and engineering applications, drawing inspiration from natural design principles. We also investigate new characterization approaches for highly disordered molecules and associated self-assembly principles, related functions and implications for health and disease. Our work aims to expose disease mechanisms from a fundamental scale into structural and functional hierarchies associated with complex biological systems.

I am currently participating in an inCHIP project. My research is involved in fundamental materials science related to biological materials and human systems, and it aims to develop novel applications for positive health outcomes starting from the molecular scale and building up.


PhD, MIT, 2017

Recent Publications

15. DL Barreiro, J Yeo, A Tarakanova, FJ Martin-Martinez, MJ Buehler. Multiscale Modeling of Silk and Silk-Based Biomaterials — A Review. Macromolecular Bioscience, 2018, 1800253

14. A Tarakanova, GC Yeo, C Baldock, AS Weiss, MJ Buehler. Tropoelastin is a flexible molecule that retains its canonical shape. Macromolecular Bioscience, 2018, 1800250

13. A Tarakanova, GC Yeo, C Baldock, AS Weiss, MJ Buehler. Molecular model of human tropoelastin and implications of associated mutations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018, 115 (28), 7338-7343

12. J Yeo, GS Jung, A Tarakanova, FJ Martín-Martínez, Z Qin, Y Cheng, YW Zhang, MJ Buehler. Multiscale modeling of keratin, collagen, elastin and related human diseases: Perspectives from atomistic to coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations. Extreme Mechanics Letters, 2018, 20, 112-124

11. J Yeo, W Huang, A Tarakanova, YW Zhang, DL Kaplan, MJ Buehler. Unraveling the molecular mechanisms of thermo-responsive properties of silk-elastin-like proteins by integrating multiscale modeling and experiment. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2018, 6 (22), 3727-3734

10. A Tarakanova, W Huang, AS Weiss, DL Kaplan, MJ Buehler. Computational smart polymer design based on elastin protein mutability. Biomaterials, 2017, 127, 49-60

9. A Tarakanova, W Huang, Z Qin, DL Kaplan, MJ Buehler. Modeling and Experiment Reveal Structure and Nanomechanics across the Inverse Temperature Transition in B. mori Silk-Elastin-like Protein Polymers. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 2017, 3 (11), 2889-2899

8. W Huang, D Ebrahimi, N Dinjaski, A Tarakanova, Markus J Buehler, JY Wong, DL Kaplan. Synergistic Integration of Experimental and Simulation Approaches for the de Novo Design of Silk-Based Materials. Accounts of Chemical Research, 2017, 50 (4), 866-876

7. W Huang, A Tarakanova, N Dinjaski, Q Wang, X Xia, Y Chen, JY Wong, MJ Buehler, DL Kaplan. Design of Multistimuli Responsive Hydrogels Using Integrated Modeling and Genetically Engineered Silk–Elastin‐Like Proteins. Advanced Functional Materials, 2016, 26 (23), 4113-4123

6. GC Yeo, A Tarakanova, C Baldock, SG Wise, MJ Buehler, AS Weiss. Subtle balance of tropoelastin molecular shape and flexibility regulates dynamics and hierarchical assembly. Science Advances, 2016, 2 (2), e1501145

5. A Tarakanova, SW Chang, MJ Buehler. Computational Materials Science of Bionanomaterials: Structure, Mechanical Properties and Applications of Elastin and Collagen Proteins. Handbook of Nanomaterials Properties, 2014, 941-962

4. A Tarakanova, MJ Buehler. Molecular modeling of protein materials: case study of elastin. Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering, 2013, 21 (6), 063001

3. A Tarakanova, MJ Buehler. The role of capture spiral silk properties in the diversification of orb webs. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 2012, 9 (77), 3240-3248

2. A Tarakanova, MJ Buehler. A materiomics approach to spider silk: protein molecules to webs. JOM, 2012, 64 (2), 214-225

1. SW Cranford, A Tarakanova, NM Pugno, MJ Buehler. Nonlinear material behaviour of spider silk yields robust webs. Nature, 2012, 482 (7383), 72

Note: PDFs can be accessed at

Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-5463
Mailing Address191 Auditorium Road, Unit 3139 Storrs, CT 06269-3139 United States