Engineering News

Michael Jewett Named Walter P. Murphy Professor

Jewett is an expert on cell-free synthetic biology

Northwestern Engineering’s Michael Jewett, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence and professor of chemical and biological engineering, has been named a Walter P. Murphy Professor, effective January 1, 2020.

Named after Walter P. Murphy, the founding donor of the Technological Institute, the endowed professorship includes a stipend and one year of paid graduate student support to help further the faculty member’s research initiatives.

Michael Jewett

Jewett is an expert on cell-free synthetic biology, protein synthesis, therapeutics, glycosylation, and engineered ribosomes. He is developing cell-free biology as an enabling technology for biomanufacturing lifesaving therapeutics, sustainable chemicals, and novel materials, both quickly and on-demand. His lab focuses on designing, constructing, and modifying biological systems involved in protein synthesis and metabolism, which has the promise to advance new paradigms for the field of synthetic biology.

“We are very proud to award Mike one of the University’s prestigious Walter P. Murphy professorships,” said Julio M. Ottino, dean of the McCormick School of Engineering. “These professorships are reserved for some the most impactful and influential members of our community. Michael has made significant contributions to McCormick as both a researcher and educator, including helping position Northwestern as a leader in synthetic biology with an excellent team of faculty members.”

Jewett serves as director of Northwestern’s Center for Synthetic Biology, which bring together some of the brightest minds in the field to use tools and concepts from physics, engineering, and computer science to build new biological systems. In just a few years, the center has established itself as a leader in synthetic biology technology development, education, and research.

Among his honors, Jewett has received the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, the DARPA Young Faculty Award, the Agilent Early Career Professor Award, the Camille-Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the ACS Biochemical Technologies Division Young Investigator Award, and the Biochemical Engineering Journal Young Investigator Award. In 2019, he was named a finalist for the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, Life Sciences Category.

Jewett received his PhD and MS from Stanford University and his BS from the University of California, Los Angeles.