Faculty

Juan de Pablo

  • Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering
  • Research and Scholarly Interests: Protein Folding, Protein Aggregation, DNA Folding and Hybridization, Glassy Materials, Block Copolymers, Liquid Crystals, Development of Advanced Sampling Methods
  • Websites: de Pablo Group
  • Contact: depablo@uchicago.edu
    773.702.7791
  • Assistant: Heather Crews
  • Office Location:
    Eckhardt Research Center
    Room 231
    5640 South Ellis Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60637

Much of Juan 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.

Prof. 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.

Dynamics of Poly[n]catenane Melts
Rauscher, Phillip M et al. "Dynamics of Poly[n]catenane Melts." The Journal of Chemical Physics 152, 214901 (2020)

Thermodynamics and Structure of Poly[n]catenane Melts
Rauscher,P. M., Schweizer, K. S. , Rowan, S. J. , de Pablo, J. J. Macromolecules ASAP

An in situ shearing x-ray measurement system for exploring structures and dynamics at the solid–liquid interface
Qiao, Yijun, Hua Zhou, Zhang Jiang, Qiming He, Shenglong Gan, Hongdong Wang, Shizhu Wen et al. "An in situ shearing x-ray measurement system for exploring structures and dynamics at the solid–liquid interface." Review of Scientific Instruments 91, no. 1 (2020): 013908. Harvard

Structuring Stress for Active Materials Control
Zhang, Rui, et al. "Structuring Stress for Active Materials Control." arXiv preprint arXiv:1912.01630 (2019).

Ultrathin initiated chemical vapor deposition polymer interfacial energy control for directed self-assembly hole-shrink applications
Dolejsi, Moshe, et al. "Ultrathin initiated chemical vapor deposition polymer interfacial energy control for directed self-assembly hole-shrink applications." Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, Nanotechnology and Microelectronics: Materials, Processing, Measurement, and Phenomena 37.6 (2019): 061804.

Sculpted grain boundaries in soft crystals
Li, Xiao, et al. "Sculpted grain boundaries in soft crystals." Science Advances 5.11 (2019): eaax9112.

Reconfigurable Multicompartment Emulsion Drops Formed by Nematic Liquid Crystals and Immiscible Perfluorocarbon Oils
Wang, Xin, et al. "Reconfigurable Multicompartment Emulsion Drops Formed by Nematic Liquid Crystals and Immiscible Perfluorocarbon Oils." Langmuir 35.49 (2019): 16312-16323.

A diversified machine learning strategy for predicting and understanding molecular melting points
Jackson, Nicholas, et al. "A diversified machine learning strategy for predicting and understanding molecular melting points." (2019).

Controlling Complex Coacervation via Random Polyelectrolyte Sequences
Rumyantsev, Artem M., et al. "Controlling Complex Coacervation via Random Polyelectrolyte Sequences." ACS Macro Letters 8.10 (2019): 1296-1302.

Emergence of Radial Tree of Bend Stripes in Active Nematics
Sokolov, Andrey; Mozaffari, Ali; Zhang, Rui; de Pablo, Juan; and Snezhko, Alexey. Emergence of Radial Tree of Bend Stripes in Active Nematics. PHYSICAL REVIEW X. 2019. Vol. 9, Pg. 031014.

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