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University of Chicago Launches New Molecular Engineering School

The University of Chicago will soon become the first higher educational institute in the nation to have a dedicated school for molecular engineering, thanks to a $100 million commitment from the Pritzker Foundation.

The pledged amount will support research, education and technology development at the new Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, which is the university’s first school in engineering and its first new school to be created in three decades.

Through integrated, convergent approaches, the new interdisciplinary school will  aim to develop solutions for pressing global challenges including the search for sustainable energy, immunotherapy-based approaches to cancer and virtually “unhackable” communications networks.

“Molecular engineering has been critical to expanding the University’s capacity to contribute to science, engineering, and technology development, and to do so in a highly distinctive way,” Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago, said in a statement. “The latest commitment of the Pritzker Foundation will support dramatic further expansion and long-term sustainability of the University’s work in molecular engineering.”

The school will promote new collaborations among leading researchers from diverse disciplines, and will build programs in fields such as quantum engineering, biotechnology and immuno-engineering, advanced materials, energy storage, and ensuring a clean global water supply.

“The generous support of the Pritzker Foundation will enable us to both deepen and broaden our efforts in areas of global significance, such as sustainability and natural resources, advanced materials design, and translational systems biology,” Matthew Tirrell, the founding Pritzker director and dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, said.

Chicago-area students interested in STEM fields will also receive greater opportunities and support from the university, including a new partnership with City Colleges of Chicago which will connect students interested in pursuing a four-year degree in STEM fields to the faculty and labs at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering.

In the past, the Pritzker Foundation gifted $25 million to construct the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility and to support the founding of the Institute for Molecular Engineering, which was started by the University and Argonne National Laboratory in 2011.

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