I was born in St.-Petersburg (then: Leningrad), Russia (then: USSR) on Apr. 15, 1980. Studying the humanities is a family trend: my father, Sergei Nikolaev, is a professor of Slavic literatures, my mother, Elena Nikolaeva, is a professor of Russian language, and my uncle, Nikolai Nikolaev, is a head curator of the old books and manuscripts collection at the University Library. So I have figured out my own career path at a relatively early age.

In 1992-1997 I took classes at the Gymnasium Classicum Petropolitanum, where I first learned Latin and Greek. Having developed this early interest in ancient languages, I majored in Linguistics and Classics at the University of St.Petersburg (1997-2003), where I continued building strengths in Greek and Latin and where, thanks to Leonard Herzenberg and Nikolai Kazansky, I was introduced to Indo-European linguistics. During my year abroad (2000-2001) I studied in Vienna, Berlin and Uppsala; thanks to Martin Peters' instruction, the history of Greek language became one of my main research fields.  (See here for a brief description of my research interests).

After the college I first entered the graduate program of Russian Academy of Sciences (and eventually received my first Ph.D. in 2006), but two years later I went to Harvard to study classical philology and historical linguistics. I received my Harvard Ph.D. in 2012 for the dissertation entitled "Historical Poetics and Language History: Studies in Archaic Greek Poetry" (my committee included Jay JasanoffGregory Nagy, and Jeremy Rau). 

I started my teaching career at the University of St.-Petersburg and continued it at Harvard as a teaching assistant and an instructor at Harvard Summer School. In addition, I was advising Linguistics majors at Harvard as the Assistant Head Tutor and for the past several years I have worked as a Resident Tutor in Classics and Linguistics at Leverett House. I taught for a semester at Brandeis University and I was also involved in Harvard EdXIn 2013 I joined Boston University as an Assistant Professor of Classical Studies.

I married Elena Lisitskaya in 2005 and we live in Cambridge, MA. Our daughter Lisa was born here in 2009 on Feb. 23.