Materials Systems for Sustainability and Health

The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) is at the forefront of engineering and science related to materials systems, addressing challenges and technological issues that have a major impact on humanity and quality of life.

In this theme, you’ll collaborate with our 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.

We are engaged in groundbreaking research that spans polymeric materials, new water purification methods, battery materials, sensing applications, self-assembly of materials to prevent and treat disease, and more.

Working closely with Argonne National Laboratory and its Center for Molecular Engineering, students and faculty collaborate on creative projects that explore polymers, self-assembled and autonomous materials, dynamic covalent materials, nanoparticles, liquid crystals, and composite, hybrid materials. With a focus on engineering for sustainability, our research includes ways to extract useful (uranium, lithium) or polluting (phosphorus) elements from sea water or waste water. Our energy-related research projects include work on organic thermoelectric materials, and the organization and assembly of ion-containing polymers.

This theme also encompasses health-care applications, broadening our biomedical impact beyond our immunoengineering theme. Drawing on deep expertise in self-assembly and ion-containing polymers, PME is understanding and engineering how to prevent protein misfolding, which could help prevent diseases like dementia and ALS. We’re also studying nanoparticles for the in vivo delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids and leading the way in understanding how liquid-liquid phase separation works, and its role in the formation of membrane-less intracellular compartments in biology.

Materials Systems News