Matthew Tirrell is the Founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME) at The University of Chicago. His personal research specializes in the manipulation and measurement of polymer surface properties. Tirrell’s work has provided new insight into phenomena such as adhesion, friction, and biocompatibility, and contributed to the development of new materials based on self-assembly of synthetic and bio-inspired materials.
Tirrell also serves as Deputy Laboratory Director for Science at Argonne National Laboratory. He is responsible for integrating the laboratory’s research and development efforts and science and technology capabilities. He develops and drives strategy to support integrated teams across disciplines in support of Argonne’s strategic initiatives.
Before becoming founding director of the IME in 2011, Tirrell served as the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and as professor of materials science and engineering and chemical engineering and faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Prior to that, he was dean of engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara for 10 years. Tirrell began his academic career at the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering and later became head of the department.
Tirrell received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and his Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts. He has received many honors, including the Polymer Physics Prize of the American Physical Society and election to the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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