UChicago faculty members help launch first journal in molecular engineering

The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Institute of Chemical Engineers have launched a new interdisciplinary journal titled Molecular Systems Design and Engineering. Two faculty members in the Institute for Molecular Engineering, a joint initiative of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, will play key roles in guiding its editorial content.


Serving as chair of the editorial board is Juan de Pablo, a Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at UChicago. In his role as chair, de Pablo will lead editorial board activities together with the editor.


Serving as an editorial board member is David Awschalom, a Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering. As a board member, Awschalom will advise and assist staff in commissioning high-quality work for the journal and contribute to the board’s strategy recommendations.

“The journal will help to shape and advance the field of molecular engineering for the future,” de Pablo said. “We want to highlight this way of working at the very smallest scales, while trying to build or assemble useful materials or useful devices—using design concepts, an element of theory, or simulation. The journal will help popularize this way of working, and this new field that we call molecular engineering.”

The journal, the first in its field, will focus on understanding molecular properties, behavior and interactions, and how this can be applied to the design of processes for solving global technological problems. It will bring together selected disciplines in biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computational and materials science.

“We’ve come to the point where it’s now possible to theoretically define and practically construct new types of matter with engineered properties from the molecular level upwards,” Awschalom said. “It’s exciting to help create a new journal where researchers from different disciplines can share their findings within a broader scientific community and identify new opportunities for collaboration.”

Molecular Systems Design & Engineering will promote the understanding of molecular properties, behavior and interactions that can be used to design and assemble better materials, systems and processes to achieve specific functions. “These may have applications of technological significance and help address global challenges,” said Nicola Wise, the journal’s editor.

“It is set to be a high-profile and high-impact journal, forging links between disciplines and accelerating advances in molecular engineering by publishing reports of outstanding significance from all those using and developing molecular-level design and control.”