Ruby Lai is a scientist with broad intellectual interest, but with a persistent focus on impact through science and technology.
She is currently a research scientist at Columbia University and visiting scientist at Stanford University, working to engineer biological systems for novel on-site sanitation systems for the Reinvented Toilet Challenge.
During her PhD, she developed a process for fabrication of complex devices on free-standing ultrathin silicon; she established a mechanistic model for metal-assisted chemical etching; and she helped invent a novel nanophotonic surface for transparent metal contacts for silicon solar cells. Her previous forays into research have also included ultracold atom physics and carbon nanotube quantum devices.
As a graduate student, she founded the Stanford University Graduate Students of Applied Physics and Physics. Through this organization, she helped physics graduate students find their communities and develop their career plans. She is also an advocate for graduate student mental health, a Stanford Centennial Teaching Award winner, and Student Program Director for the Physics Summer Undergraduate Research Program.