Pioneering researcher elected to National Academy of Engineering

Election to the Academy among the highest professional distinctions for engineers

Melody Swartz, William B. Ogden Professor at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering for her research into lymphatic transport and immunobiology, informing novel approaches for cancer immunotherapy and vaccination.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions for engineers. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education, particularly as it relates to developing fields of technology or advancements in traditional fields of engineering.

“This recognition is a testament to Professor Swartz’s pioneering research and her many impactful contributions to the study of lymphatic biology and immunoengineering,” said Matthew Tirrell, dean of Pritzker Molecular Engineering. “Melody’s work is transformative, both in our understanding of fundamental biological processes and in the development of novel therapies.”

Swartz, who also holds a joint appointment in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research, investigates the regulatory roles of lymphatic vessels — maintaining fluid balance, shaping local inflammatory environments, and managing adaptive immune responses.

Her efforts support the emerging view that lymphatic vessels play critical roles in fine-tuning immune responses that are critical for resolving inflammation and preventing autoimmunity while also promoting immunological memory.

Swartz’s formal induction will take place during the NAE’s annual meeting on October 1, 2023.

Among her many honors, Swartz was elected to the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium in 2023, the National Academy of Medicine in 2020, elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018, and named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012.

She is also a co-founder of the Chicago Immunoengineering Innovation Center

This story originally appeared on the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering site.