Jeffrey Moore, the Murchison-Mallory Professor of Chemistry, a professor of materials science and engineering, and a long-time Beckman faculty member, has been named director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, pending Board of Trustees approval.
“Jeff’s research expertise, administrative experience, and dedication to Illinois make him the perfect person to lead the Beckman Institute,” said Peter Schiffer, vice chancellor for research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The Beckman Institute, home to more than 600 researchers and staff and more than $18 million in external research funding to date in FY16, pursues interdisciplinary research in the physical sciences, computation, biomedical imaging, materials science, biology, behavior, cognition, language, and neuroscience.
Moore is the third chemistry professor to be named director of the Beckman Institute, and the fourth LAS professor to serve in the position. Theodore Brown, professor emeritus of chemistry, served as founding director emeritus of the Beckman Institute from 1987-1993. Jiri Jonas, professor emeritus of chemistry, was Beckman’s second director, serving from 1993-2001. Art Kramer, Swanlund Chair and professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience, served as director from 2010-2016.
A Beckman faculty member since 1994, Moore has served as co-chair of Beckman’s Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures theme, and is a member of the Autonomous Materials Systems Group. Moore was recently named a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and in 2014, was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. He is also lead primary investigator for the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a multi-institution research hub funded by the Department of Energy. Moore oversees the hub’s thrust on “Non-Aqueous Redox Flow Batteries.”
“Having served as interim director for the past year, I'm excited by the wide-ranging research that occurs in the Beckman Institute. Our researchers pursue problems with a team-minded spirit, free from the constraints of traditional academic boundaries,” Moore said. “You see so many examples of mutually beneficial interactions between science and technology here--a powerful way to solve important problems and drive new discoveries.”
Moore has published over 400 articles covering topics from technology in the classroom to self-healing polymers, mechanoresponsive materials, and shape-persistent macrocycles. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry, and has received numerous awards for his contributions to teaching and research.
He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1984 and his doctoral degree in materials science in 1989 from Illinois. He was an assistant professor at the University of Michigan before joining the Illinois faculty in 1993.
Martin Gruebele, James R. Eiszner Endowed Chair in Chemistry, professor of physics, professor in the Center for Biophysics, and head of the Department of Chemistry—and a faculty member in the Beckman Institute—said that Moore has excellent qualities for the new position.
“Like Ted Brown and Jiri Jonas, he will provide strong and impartial leadership for the Institute,” Gruebele said.
Schiffer noted the success of Beckman since its creation.
“Beckman is one of the reasons that Illinois has such a stellar reputation,” Schiffer said. “I have every confidence that Jeff will build on his successful track record to lead the Institute in the coming years.”
Moore said that the Beckman Institute has paved the way for “the global rise of interdisciplinary research environments.”
“Since 1989, Beckman has been a pioneering example of an academic entity that encouraged faculty to cut across traditional boundaries to address important research problems,” Moore said. “As today's scientific challenges grow in complexity, and as technology moves at ever-faster rates, we must become even more agile and find new ways to foster partnerships with a wider cross-section of the talent on our campus.”
Beckman, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014, works to transcend the limitations inherent in traditional university organizations and structures. The Institute was founded on the premise that reducing the barriers between traditional scientific and technological disciplines can yield research advances that more conventional approaches cannot. Researchers from departments as far-ranging as psychology, computer science, electrical engineering, physics, chemistry, and bioengineering make up Beckman Institute groups.