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Ex-UCSB Dean Matthew Tirrell to Launch Chicago Institute of Molecular Engineering

After two years at UC Berkeley, leading bioengineering researcher leaving to establish new program at University of Chicago

Matthew Tirrell, former dean of UCSB’s College of Engineering, will be joining the University of Chicago as founding director of the new Institute of Molecular Engineering. He begins his new post July 1.

A leading researcher in the fields of biomolecular engineering and nanotechnology, Tirrell was UCSB’s dean of engineering for 10 years and helped build the program to national prominence.

He left in 2009 to join the faculty at UC Berkeley. At Cal, he chairs the Bioengineering Department, is a professor of materials science and engineering and chemical engineering, and is a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Among Tirrell’s many honors are election to the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In Chicago, Tirrell will help develop the new Institute for Molecular Engineering. Created in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, the institute is expected to explore innovative technologies from all engineering fields to solve real-world problems.

“This isn’t going to be directed narrowly toward one scientific discipline, but at creating an institute that attacks societal problems from a technological viewpoint,” Tirrell said in a statement. “Many important societal problems in energy or health care or the environment can be addressed by new molecular-level science.

“When you are trying to solve problems, you need people from different kinds of disciplines. That’s something the Institute for Molecular Engineering can create right from the beginning.”

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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