Matthew Tirrell

faculty photo

Professor Emeritus, Bioengineering
Professor Emeritus, Materials Science and Engineering
Professor Emeritus, Chemical Engineering

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Research Interests

Tirrell’s research is focused on the manipulation and measurement of surface properties of polymers, bringing microscopic measurements of intermolecular forces to bear on polymer surface problems, and new insight into polymer technology particularly in the area of surface modification with amphiphilic polymers and bimolecular materials.


  • 1973 B.S. Chemical Engineering, Northwestern University
  • 1977 Ph.D. Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts

Major Awards

  • 2002 Turner Alfrey Lectures, Michigan Molecular Institute
  • 2004 Chemcon Distinguished Speaker, AIChE/IIChE
  • 2004 W.N. Lacey Lectureship in Chemical Engineering California Institute of Technology
  • 2005 ICI Distinguished Lectures, University of Alberta
  • 2005 Le Prix Dedale de la Societe Francaise d’Adhesion
  • 2005 NSF Engineering Distinguished Lecture
  • 2009 Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques

Professional Experience

  • 2015 – present, Deputy Laboratory Director for Science, Argonne National Laboratory
  • 2011 – present Pritzker Director, Institute for Molecular Engineering, The University of Chicago
  • 2011 – present University of California, Berkeley, Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, Bioengineering
  • 2009 – 2011 University of California, Berkeley, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, Bioengineering
  • 1999- 2009 University of California, Santa Barbara,  Professor, Chemical Engineering, Materials and Richard A. Auhll Professor and Dean, College of Engineering
  • 1995-99 University of Minnesota Head of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
  • 1993-97 University of Minnesota Earl E. Bakken Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • 1985-99 University of Minnesota Professor (Acting Head, 1992-93)
  • 1986-91 University of Minnesota Shell Distinguished Chair in Chemical Engineering
  • 1981-85 University of Minnesota Associate Professor
  • 1977-81 University of Minnesota Assistant Professor
  • 1973-77 University of Massachusetts Teaching and Research Assistant
  • 1970-72 Cincinnati Milacron Chemicals, Inc (cooperative education program)