About

Facilities

The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) is housed in several facilities on the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus.

Our main home is the state-of-the-art William Eckhardt Research Center (ERC), which we share with several sections of the Physical Sciences Division. We have classrooms, offices, and laboratories in other buildings across campus, giving students, faculty, and staff access to a wide range of modern facilities.

Beyond the University campus, Pritzker Molecular Engineering holds residence in Argonne National Laboratory’s Energy Sciences Building.
 

The William Eckhardt Research Center was developed to support cutting-edge research in molecular engineering, astrophysics, astronomy, chemistry, and physics. This state-of-the-art facility is PME’s main building. The ERC is equipped with classrooms, offices, and high-performance laboratories where we conduct groundbreaking science and engineer advanced products, materials, and processes.

Completed in 2015, the facility was named for Chicago futures trader and alumnus William Eckhardt, SM’70, in recognition of his generous support of the sciences at the University. The ERC features 265,000 square feet of space and seven floors, including two below ground. The building is part of the University’s Science Quad, putting the PME near the Biological Sciences Division in the Gordon Center for Integrative Science as well as the University of Chicago Medicine.

ERC’s lower level boasts molecular imaging facilities and cleanrooms. At the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility, researchers and engineers pursue nanoscale fabrication in a 10,000-square-foot ultra-modern cleanroom. The facility provides advanced lithographic processing of both soft and hard materials, accommodating a variety of users. The Soft Matter Characterization Facility offers specialized instrumentation and training for researchers to study the structure, properties, and dynamics of soft materials.

The Accelerator Building houses PME’s student services team, various administrative offices, and a study space for students. It boasts historical significance as the home of Enrico Fermi’s first lab space. A wide range of notable scientific research and experimentation took place inside. Directly across from the building, you'll find a monument to Fermi’s work.

The PME shares the 10th floor of the Cummings Life Science Center with our partners in the Biological Sciences. The 11‐story facility, constructed in 1974, features advanced biological research laboratories. A renovation completed in January 2019 included updates to administrative offices, labs, conference rooms, and small collaborative spaces.

The George Herbert Jones Laboratory, constructed in 1929, houses various PME research groups. Room 405 in this four-story building was named a National Historic Landmark in 1967. It is the site where plutonium was first isolated and measured as part of the Manhattan Project. In 1942, University of Chicago chemists isolated a trace quantity of the element. Subsequent measurements enabled chemists to determine plutonium’s atomic weight, paving the way for nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

PME's undergraduate design courses are located in the former high bay area of the High-Energy Physics Building. This space was once used to design and construct scientific equipment for deployment throughout the world and the cosmos. PME now uses the space for collaborative workshops and gathering spaces to support seminars and assigned projects

Several PME faculty and research groups are housed on the first floor of this lab space, which was recently renovated to support work in biomedical engineering and environmental engineering.

The Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation offers education, resources, programs, and facilities to support new ventures at the University and beyond. PME's partnership with the Polsky Center fosters innovative solutions to real-world problems, maximizing the scope and impact of future technologies.

The Polsky Exchange, formerly the Chicago Innovation Exchange, is the Polsky Center's startup hub and co-working space, which features the state-of-the-art Fabrication Lab. Fab Lab, a high-tech maker’s space, offers a full suite of equipment to create prototypes for testing and improvement. The space is a valuable asset to engineering students and others, providing the tools to transform ideas into physical objects.

PME’s STAGE offices and state-of-the-art black box theater are located at the Reynolds Club the University’s primary student center. STAGE (Scientists, Technologists, and Artists Generating Exploration) is a “collaboratory” where professionals and students of diverse artistic, scientific, engineering, and technological backgrounds come together to craft interdisciplinary theater pieces.

PME houses a number of its research groups at the Searle Chemical Laboratory. In 2009, the 83,440-square-foot, five-story building underwent a $49 million renovation. The work included exterior renovations, interior reconfiguration, and accommodations for new labs. The renovations also helped reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency. The energy-saving features earned the University of Chicago its first LEED Gold Certification for a research building.

 

ChemMatCARS, supported by a National Science Foundation grant, operates three experimental stations in the areas of advanced small-molecule crystallography, liquid surface and interface scattering, and small to wide-angle scattering. Located at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) on the campus of Argonne National Laboratory, ChemMatCARS’ instrumentation provides information that addresses a broad range of issues in chemistry and materials research.

The PME’s Chicago Immunoengineering Innovation Center maintains specialized instrumentation for phenotyping immune cells through flow cytometry and single-cell sequencing technologies. Instead of a centralized core facility, the instrumentation and their technicians are housed in the laboratories of Profs. Hubbell, Swartz, Huang, and Chevrier. Usage of these machines by CIIC member laboratories is subsidized at 100%, but may incur hourly fees to cover the cost of maintenance and technician support.

Flow Cytometry: In a partnership with the OSRF’s Cytometry and Antibody Technology Core Facility, the CIIC operates two five-laser flow cytometers (355/405/488/561/640nm excitation) in ERC 350, located within the larger ERC 318 research laboratory suite (Hubbell/Swartz/Huang labs). While the main core facility and their staff are located adjacent to the ERC in BSLC R022, they manage training, maintenance, technical support, cloud-based data storage, and analytical software site licenses for our users as well.

Single-Cell Sequencing: The Chevrier lab hosts the PME’s sequencing capabilities, including an Illumina MiSeq next-gen sequencer and an Illumina NextSeq 550 next-gen sequencer; as well as a 10X Genomics Chromium Controller (which allows for single-cell partitioning, molecular barcoding, and library preparation). There are also two Agilent TapeStation instruments for sample QC (Chevrier, Huang labs) and two qPCR machines for handling 96-384 well formats (Swartz, Chevrier labs). For access to the machines, please contact Shann Yu.

More information can be found on this page.

The Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility (PNF), an ISO Class 5 cleanroom, offers advanced lithographic processing of both soft and hard materials. Located on lower level 1 of the William Eckhardt Research Center, this 10,000-square-foot facility includes a full suite of high-tech tools and equipment, and provides an ideal space for researchers and engineers to pursue nanoscale fabrication.

Engineers staff the PNF, providing training for users, developing specific processes, and maintaining cleanroom equipment. The PNF welcomes all properly trained users, including those from other universities, private companies, or government institutions. External users can access the facility for a fee.

The Soft Matter Characterization Facility (SMCF) is a core user facility of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. Located in the William Eckhardt Research Center, the SMCF maintains a suite of specialized instruments dedicated to study the structure, properties, and dynamics of soft materials. It is open to both internal (University of Chicago and affiliates) and external users (industry and nonprofits).