Jonathan Sweedler named acting head of the Department of Chemistry


Professor Jonathan Sweedler has been named the acting head of the Department of Chemistry following the announcement that Professor Catherine J. Murphy, previous head of the department, will serve as interim director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology for the 2023-24 academic year.

In June 2020, Murphy became the first woman to serve as head of the Department of Chemistry at Illinois. She began her interim role at Beckman on Aug. 16 and will lead the institute during a national search for a new director to permanently succeed Nadya Mason, who announced in July that she would be leaving to become the dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

Sweedler, James R. Eiszner Family Endowed Chair in Chemistry, has been a professor of chemistry at Illinois since 1991 and served as Director of the School of Chemical Sciences from 2012 to 2022. On Aug. 21, Dr. Paul Kenis, director of the School of Chemical Sciences, announced Sweedler as acting head of chemistry.

"I am confident he will be able to continue to move forward the various ongoing initiatives pursued under Dr. Murphy’s leadership, while I am sure he will also pursue new opportunities to the benefit of Chemistry and beyond over the next year," Kenis said in the announcement. 

Professor Sweedler's research interests are in bioanalytical chemistry, focusing on developing new methods for assaying the chemistry occurring in nanoliter-volume samples and applying these analytical methods to characterize the small molecule and peptide cell-cell signaling molecules from systems ranging from microbial ecologies to animal nervous systems. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Analytical Chemistry.

He received his BS degree in Chemistry from the University of California at Davis in 1983, and his PhD from the University of Arizona in 1989 and was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University before joining the faculty at Illinois in 1991.

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