Juan de Pablo is the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering (PME), Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories, and Global Initiatives, and Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory.
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.
He holds over 25 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 more than 650 publications.
As the Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories, and Global Initiatives, de Pablo helps drive and support the expanding reach of the University’s science, technology, and innovation efforts, along with their connection to policy and industry. He identifies and shapes emerging strategic scientific and technological initiatives and provides oversight of entrepreneurship and innovation activities at the University’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He also works with faculty, deans, and administrators to build global academic partnerships and international research collaborations while overseeing the University’s international centers.
de Pablo provides leadership for the University’s stewardship of two U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories — Argonne and Fermilab — as institutions to advance science and technology in support of the nation’s interest. He collaborates with other leaders in research and innovation to build programs and links between and among the national laboratories and the University, as well as the Marine Biological Laboratory. Working closely with President Paul Alivisatos, he plays an essential role in the University’s partnership with the Department of Energy.
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). In 2022, he was elected into the National Academy of Sciences.
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. de Pablo joined the University of Wisconsin faculty in 1992 and served as the Howard Curler Distinguished Professor and Hilldale Professor of Chemical Engineering.
Metastable doubly threaded rotaxanes with a large macrocycle
Jerald E. Hertzog, Vincent J. Maddi,Laura F. Hart, Benjamin W. Rawe, Phillip M. Rauscher, Katie M. Herbert, Eric P. Bruckner, c Juan J. de Pablo and Stuart J. Rowan. Chem. Sci. (2022), 13, 5333-5344
Stability and molecular pathways to the formation of spin defects in silicon carbide
Lee, E.M.Y., Yu, A., de Pablo, J.J. and Galli, G. (2021). Stability and molecular pathways to the formation of spin defects in silicon carbide. Nature Communications, 12(1), p.6325. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-26419-0.
Sequence blockiness controls the structure of polyampholyte necklaces
Rumyantsev, A.M., Johner, A. and de Pablo, J.J., 2021. Sequence Blockiness Controls the Structure of Polyampholyte Necklaces. ACS macro letters, 10, pp.1048-1054.
Polyelectrolyte Complex Coacervation across a Broad Range of Charge Densities
Neitzel, A.E., Fang, Y.N., Yu, B., Rumyantsev, A.M., de Pablo, J.J. and Tirrell, M.V., 2021. Polyelectrolyte complex coacervation across a broad range of charge densities. Macromolecules, 54(14), pp.6878-6890.
Neural network sampling of the free energy landscape for nitrogen dissociation on ruthenium
Lee, E.M.Y., Ludwig, T., Yu, B., Singh, A.R., Gygi, F., Nørskov, J.K. and de Pablo, J.J. (2021). Neural Network Sampling of the Free Energy Landscape for Nitrogen Dissociation on Ruthenium. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 12(11), pp.2954–2962. doi:10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c00195.
Scaling theory of neutral sequence-specific polyampholytes
Rumyantsev, A.M., Jackson, N.E., Johner, A. and De Pablo, J.J., 2021. Scaling Theory of Neutral Sequence-Specific Polyampholytes. Macromolecules, 54(7), pp.3232-3246.
Harnessing Peptide Binding to Capture and Reclaim Phosphate
Fowler, Whitney C., et al. "Harnessing Peptide Binding to Capture and Reclaim Phosphate." Journal of the American Chemical Society 143.11 (2021): 4440-4450. Whitney C. Fowler, Chuting Deng, Gabriella M. Griffen, Tess Teodoro, Ashley Z. Guo, Michal Zaiden, Moshe Gottlieb*, Juan J. de Pablo, Matthew V. Tirrell
Role of Molecular Architecture on Ion Transport in Ethylene oxide-Based Polymer Electrolytes
Deng, Chuting, et al. "Role of Molecular Architecture on Ion Transport in Ethylene oxide-Based Polymer Electrolytes." Macromolecules 54.5 (2021): 2266-2276. Chuting Deng, Michael A. Webb, Peter Bennington, Daniel Sharon, Paul F. Nealey, Shrayesh N. Patel, Juan J. de Pablo
Role of solvation site segmental dynamics on ion transport in ethylene-oxide based side-chain polymer electrolytes
Bennington, Peter, et al. "Role of solvation site segmental dynamics on ion transport in ethylene-oxide based side-chain polymer electrolytes." Journal of Materials Chemistry A 9.15 (2021): 9937-9951. Peter Bennington, Chuting Deng, Daniel Sharon, Michael A. Webb, Juan J. de Pablo, Paul F. Nealey, Shrayesh N. Patel
Modeling the Binding Mechanism of Remdesivir, Favilavir, and Ribavirin to SARS-CoV-2 RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase
Byléhn, F., Menéndez, C.A., Perez-Lemus, G.R., Alvarado, W. and De Pablo, J.J., 2021. Modeling the binding mechanism of remdesivir, favilavir, and ribavirin to SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. ACS central science, 7(1), pp.164-174.