It is our pleasure to announce that Matthew Tirrell, the founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME) at the University, has been appointed to an additional scientific leadership role at Argonne National Laboratory, serving as Argonne’s Deputy Laboratory Director for Science. Matt will continue his leadership of IME, which itself is a joint effort of the University and Argonne. His appointment will help strengthen the combined efforts of our institutions, including the successful scientific partnership that Matt has developed at IME. The success in bringing a collection of outstanding faculty leaders to IME has enabled Matt to build the leadership and organization within IME, allowing him to take on this expanded role.
As a scientific adviser to Argonne Director Peter B. Littlewood, Matt will have the primary responsibility for integrating the lab’s research and development efforts and science and technology capabilities. He will develop and drive the strategy to support integrated, collaborating teams across divisions and disciplines, in support of the lab’s large strategic initiatives.
Since becoming IME’s founding director in 2011, Matt has led the new institute on a course of rapid growth in the emerging discipline of molecular engineering. The program has attracted a core of 12 faculty members, with a thriving graduate program and a new undergraduate major. Many IME faculty members, including Matt himself, have joint appointments as Argonne scientists. Scientists at IME explore innovative technologies that address fundamental societal problems through modern advances in nanoscale manipulation and the ability to design at a molecular scale. In 2014, the institute recorded $10 million in research volume and began equipping and staffing its new Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility.
Before leading IME, Matt served for 10 years as dean of engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara, where he was credited with bringing the program to national prominence. Previously he served as the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California at Berkeley and as professor of materials science and engineering and chemical engineering and as a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Matt began his academic career in 1977 at the University of Minnesota, where he served as Shell Distinguished Chair in Chemical Engineering, Earl E. Bakken Professor of Biomedical Engineering, director of the Biomedical Engineering Institute, and head of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
Matt has provided leadership to numerous national and regional organizations, including the Science and Technology Panel of the University of California President’s Council for National Laboratory Administration from 2000 to 2010. He has served as editor or on the editorial boards of 18 publications.
Matt received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University in 1973 and his doctoral degree in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts in 1977. 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.