Juan de Pablo named UChicago Vice President for National Laboratories

Juan de Pablo, the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering and senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, has been appointed Vice President for National Laboratories at the University of Chicago.

In his new role, de Pablo will provide leadership for the University’s stewardship of two U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories—Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab—as institutions to advance science and technology in support of the nation’s interest. He will collaborate 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 with President Robert J. Zimmer, he will play an essential role in the University’s partnership with the Department of Energy.

“As one of the key leaders at the Institute for Molecular Engineering, Juan’s work has been critical to the Institute’s development and remarkable growth. His background in research and administration, combined with his commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to science and engineering, make Juan well-positioned to lead the University’s work with the national laboratories,” wrote Zimmer in announcing his appointment.

In his pioneering research work, de Pablo focuses on polymeric materials, a highly diverse class of materials that are used in many fields of engineering, ranging from consumer products to biomedical applications and ultralight vehicles. He is a leader in developing molecular models and advanced computational simulations of molecular and large-scale phenomena occurring over wide ranges of length scales.

“I am thrilled by the opportunity to build on the strong relationships between UChicago and the national laboratories, fueling new discoveries, innovations and technologies that advance science and benefit society,” de Pablo said.

De Pablo joined the University in 2012 as a member of the first set of faculty appointments to IME, where he now serves as deputy director for education and outreach. He came from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he served as the Howard Curler Distinguished Professor and Hilldale Professor of Chemical Engineering. He was awarded the 2018 Polymer Physics Prize by the American Physical Society, which is among the most prestigious for the field.

De Pablo earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and as well as a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, the National Academy of Engineering and is a foreign correspondent member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.

De Pablo’s appointment will replace responsibilities of the national laboratories previously held by Eric D. Isaacs, who served as Executive Vice President for Research, Innovation and National Laboratories before departing UChicago earlier this year to become president of the Carnegie Institution for Science.