de Pablo Group: Juan de Pablo

Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering and Deputy Director for Education and Outreach

de Pablo Group


  • Phone
  • Address

    Eckhardt Research Center
    Room 231
    5640 South Ellis Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60637

  • Email
  • Assistant
    Heather Crews


Much of de Pablo’s work entails conducting supercomputer simulations to understand and design new materials from scratch and to find applications for them.

He is a leader of simulations of polymeric materials, including DNA dynamics — how DNA molecules arrange and organize themselves and interact with other DNA molecules. He also studies protein aggregation and its poorly understood relationship to various diseases, including type II diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.

de Pablo joined the University of Wisconsin faculty in 1992 and served as the Howard Curler Distinguished Professor and Hilldale Professor of Chemical Engineering. He holds over 20 patents on multiple technologies, including nine jointly with PME Brady W. Dougan Professor of Molecular Engineering Paul Nealey and others, and is the author or co-author of approximately 500 publications.

The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors has identified one of de Pablo and Nealey’s collaborative inventions for directed self-assembly as a technology critical to the semiconductor industry’s miniaturization goals. Directed self-assembly provides engineers a means of coaxing organic materials to form patterns that direct the deposition of metals on integrated circuits.

A food manufacturer has licensed another of de Pablo’s patents for stabilizing proteins in bacteria or cells for long periods of time without refrigeration, but the patent also has potential pharmaceutical and medical applications. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Physical Society, de Pablo also has received the 2011 Charles Stine Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the DuPont Medal for Excellence in Nutrition and Health Sciences in 2016, and the Intel Patterning Science Award in 2015. He currently chairs the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, and the Committee on Condensed Matter and Materials Research at the National Research Council. He is the founding editor of Molecular Systems Design and Engineering, and co-director of the new Center for Hierarchical Materials Design.

In 2016, de Pablo was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for “design of macromolecular products and processes via scientific computation.” 

de Pablo earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 1985. After completing his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1990, he conducted postdoctoral research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.

To download a copy of Professor de Pablo's most updated biography, please click here.

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