PhD Program

Molecular Engineering

The PhD in Molecular Engineering program provides students with the opportunity to study with leading experts working in areas such as biotechnology, immunoengineering, advanced materials, energy storage, quantum engineering, and ensuring a clean global water supply.

A degree with a focus on Materials Systems for Sustainability and Health enables students to work with a team of internationally recognized materials scientists and soft matter engineers to understand and engineer solutions in energy, natural resources such as water, sustainability, and health. Our research in this area spans polymeric materials, new water purification methods, battery materials, sensing applications, self-assembly of materials to prevent and treat disease, and more.

A degree with a focus in Immunoengineering enables students to use engineering principles to understand immune system functions and innovate solutions addressing immunological problems in human health. Our research involves developing more potent therapies for the human immune system and using multifaceted approaches to better understand the fluid and cellular movement through tissues to the lymph system.

A degree with a focus in Quantum Engineering blends efforts from faculty in engineering, physics, chemistry, and computer science. Students interested in quantum engineering may also enroll in the Quantum Science and Engineering program. In both programs, students will work directly on the foundational technology that will shape the quantum future, including the areas of quantum computing, quantum communications, and quantum sensing, as well as research in quantum materials.

Among the many programs and initiatives available to students include the Chicago Immunoengineering Innovation Center, Chicago Materials Research Center, Midwest Integrated Center for Computational Materials, the Chicago Quantum Exchange, and the Department of Energy funded national quantum information science research centers Q-NEXT and SQMS.

Students perform their research in state-of-the-art facilities at both the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory campuses, and have opportunities to gain industry expertise through interactions with UChicago’s Booth School of Business and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, as well as our industry and corporate partners. More opportunities are available through our robust programs in career development and entrepreneurshipscience communicationmentoring training and opportunities, and educational outreach.

Program overview

Learn more about our curriculum structure, inclusive and student-centered approach to education and research, programs to support career development, and more.

Enroll today

Learn more about the application process, required documents, deadlines, and policy.

Meet our students

Shinya Wai

Shinya, who works in Wang Lab and Tirrell Lab, aims to develop conducting polymeric materials with the capability to evade immune recognition for applications in implantable electronics. His work involves using anti-fouling polymers and immunomodulatory agents to impart immune-evading properties to conducting polymers.

Lauren "Ande" Hesser

Working jointly in Hubbell Lab and Nagler Lab, Ande’s project focuses on the development of microbiome modulating therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of food allergies. By targeting commensal gut bacteria and their metabolic byproducts as a source of immune modulation, she looks to gain new insight into the mechanisms underlying food allergies and to discover potential biotherapeutic agents.

Viviana Palacio-Betancur

Viviana’s research combines software development and the study of colloids assembly. She uses novel methods to simulate liquid crystals at the continuum scale and works to improve methods built in the de Pablo Group to broaden their applicability to more complex systems and connect theoretical results to experimental observations.