Timeline

2007

Faculty committee recommends a formal program in molecular engineering

A faculty committee, chaired by Prof. Steven J. Sibener and convened by Chancellor Robert J. Zimmer and then-Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum, finds multiple compelling reasons for the creation of a molecular engineering program.

2010

Cobb Gate

University Senate, Board of Trustees endorse creation of Institute for Molecular Engineering

After two ad hoc committees chaired by Prof. Sibener and one external committee chaired by Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, endorse a molecular engineering program, the Council of the University Senate votes to create the then-Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME) and the Board of Trustees endorses the vote.

2011

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Matthew Tirrell joins as founding director

Matthew Tirrell, a pioneering researcher in the fields of biomolecular engineering and nanotechnology, joins then-IME as its founding director, forging the way for a new kind of engineering program.

2012

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First faculty hires

The molecular engineering program makes its first set of faculty appointments, including Profs. David Awschalom, Juan de Pablo, Nancy Kawalek, and Paul Nealey to provide senior faculty leadership.

2013

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Collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory advances research

David Awschalom, Juan de Pablo, Paul Nealey, and Matthew Tirrell establish Department of Energy-supported research programs at Argonne National Laboratory, furthering a partnership that enhances both institutions.

2013

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PhD program established

The University of Chicago offers an engineering PhD for the first time, combining the standard disciplines of engineering into an exciting new endeavor with a focus on solving global issues with molecular-level science.

2013

Students sitting in main quad

Molecular engineering minor established

The College at the University of Chicago begins offering a minor in molecular engineering to undergraduates, opening an opportunity for more students to learn the approaches and tools of molecular engineers.

2014

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Construction of the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility

UChicago announces the construction of the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility, a 12,000 square foot ISO Class 5 cleanroom designed to put cutting-edge tools in the hands of researchers and support molecular engineering projects.

2014

Paulina Rincon Delgadillo graduating

First PhD in molecular engineering awarded

Paulina Rincon-Delgadillo receives the first PhD in molecular engineering from the University after a distinctive path in graduate school that took her from Wisconsin to Belgium, and finally, to Chicago.

2015

Bernien Lab lasers

Molecular engineering major established

The University establishes a major in molecular engineering, the first engineering major in its history. The new curriculum offers students a comprehensive foundation in the fundamental sciences to build practical systems from the molecular level up.

2015

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The William Eckhardt Research Center opens

The molecular engineering program gains its first permanent home with the opening of the William Eckhardt Research Center, a facility with state-of-the-art equipment that is designed to foster new partnerships and interactions.

2015

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Giulia Galli leads Argonne-based MICCOM project

MICCoM (Midwest Integrated Center for Computational Materials) is established at Argonne National Laboratory and led by Prof. Giulia Galli, with a mission to develop open-source advanced software tools for the scientific community.

2016

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New faculty members are appointed

Over the first five years, the number of faculty members grows to 15, with expertise in fields such as bioengineering and systems biology, molecular immunology, and materials science.

2017

IBM laboratory

Chicago Quantum Exchange launches

In collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Chicago launches an intellectual hub to foster advancement in quantum information. The center is led by Prof. David Awschalom and housed at PME.

2018

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First class of undergraduate molecular engineering majors graduate

The first cohort of undergraduate molecular engineering majors – thirteen in total – graduate from the College. 

2018

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Prof. Juan de Pablo appointed Vice President for National Laboratories

The University appoints Prof. Juan de Pablo to lead its  stewardship of two U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories—Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab. In 2020, the role is expanded to the newly-created position of Vice President for National Laboratories, Science Strategy, Innovation and Global Initiatives.

2019

Matthew Tirrell and Robert J. Zimmer

IME becomes the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering

A $100 million dollar gift from the Pritzker Foundation supports the new Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago, creating the nation’s first school dedicated to the emerging, fast-growing field of molecular engineering and the first new school at the University in three decades.

2019

Student at desk

Master’s program launches

Pritzker Molecular Engineering establishes a master of science in molecular engineering, designed to prepare engineers for leadership positions across industries.

2020

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The Chicago Immunoengineering Innovation Center launches

Based at PME and led by Profs. Jeffrey Hubbell and Melody Swartz, the Chicago Immunoengineering Innovation Center (CIIC) launches with a focus on developing new technologies to combat diseases such as cancer, allergies, and autoimmune disorders.

2020

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Department of Energy selects Argonne, Fermilab to lead two multi-million-dollar national quantum research centers

The U.S. Department of Energy establishes new research centers with Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, both affiliated with the University of Chicago.

2021

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Faculty members total over 40

Faculty members with expertise in fields such as chemical engineering, regenerative tissue engineering, and machine learning join PME, bringing the total number of faculty above 40.

2021 and Beyond

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PME continues to grow and address complex issues

As PME grows, it plans to not only build on existing research themes, but also expand into additional areas that have a significant impact on humanity and quality of life, such as artificial intelligence, data science, educational innovation, and more.

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