Katayun Barmak holds the Philips Electronics Chair in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. She is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics (APAM). She served as the Materials Program Director in APAM from 2013-2019.

Prior to her appointment to the Faculty at Lehigh University in 1992, she spent three years at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center and IBM East Fishkill development laboratory working on materials, structures and processes for field effect and bipolar junction transistors. She joined Carnegie Mellon University in 1999 and moved to Columbia University in 2011.

She received the National Young Investigator (NYI) award in 1994 and the Creativity Award in 2001, both from the US National Science Foundation. She was the recipient of an IBM Materials Research Community Visiting Scientist Award, IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, 2004 (one of only two faculty awards made worldwide), and a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Fellowship in 1994.

A major focus of her research is the study metallic films and nanowires. In addition to coauthoring a number of book chapters, she has co-edited and has authored three chapters in the book Metallic Films for Electronic, Magnetic, Optical and Thermal Applications: Structure, Processing and Properties. She has authored more than 200 peer reviewed publications and holds four patents.