Tanya Khovanova received her M.S. in Math from Moscow State University in 1981, and her PhD, also from Moscow State, in 1988, under Israel Gelfand. After emigrating from the Soviet Union in 1990, she held postdoctoral positions at Tel Aviv University, MIT, Bar Ilan University, and Princeton University, before moving to industry in 1998, where she worked as a systems engineer and an applied mathematician. Subsequently she coached mathletes at the Advanced Math and Sciences Academy in Marlborough, MA. Since 2008 she has served as head mentor of the Math section of MIT's Research Science Institute (RSI). Since its inception in 2010 she has been head mentor of MIT PRIMES.
Her research initially was in representation theory, integrable systems, quantum groups, and superstring theory. Currently she is interested in combinatorics and recreational mathematics. She has authored two papers selected for Best Writing on Mathematics volumes in 2014 and 2016.