Matthew Tirrell

Executive Advisory Committee Member,
- Dean and Founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering

Contact Information

The University of Chicago
Institute for Molecular Engineering
5747 South Ellis Avenue,
Jones Laboratory 222
Chicago, IL, 60637

Phone: 773.834.2001
Email: mtirrell at


Professor Tirrell received a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and a PhD in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusettes. He began his academic career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Minnesota where he later served as Head of the Department. He then moved to the University of California at Santa Barbara where he served as Dean of Engineering. After serving as Dean for 10 years, Professor Tirrell moved to the University of California at Berkeley where he served as Chair for the Department of Bioengineering. In 2011 he accepted the position of Founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering.


Matthew Tirrell is a pioneering researcher in the fields of biomolecular engineering and nanotechnology, specializing in the manipulation and measurement of the surface properties of polymers, materials that consist of long, flexible chain molecules. His work combines microscopic measurements of intermolecular forces with the creation of new structures. His work has provided new insight into polymer properties, especially surface phenomena, such as adhesion, friction, and biocompatibility, and new materials based on self-assembly of synthetic and bioinspired materials.

Research Papers