Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2005
Research Associate, UCLA and Caltech, 2005 – 2008
Cornell University, 2008 – 2016
Northwestern University, 2016 – Present
Will was born in Houston, Texas, but spent most of his impressionable years growing up in Roanoke, Virginia. Roanoke is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and features the world’s second largest man-made star, lit up every night for your viewing pleasure.
He was an undergraduate student at MIT, where he majored in chemistry and was fortunate to gain his first research experience working in the laboratory of Prof. Tim Swager. Will then moved to UC-Berkeley for graduate school, where he earned his Ph.D. for investigating light harvesting macromolecules under the supervision of Prof. Jean M. J. Fréchet. He next moved to Los Angeles for a joint postdoctoral appointment with Prof. Fraser Stoddart, then at UCLA, and Prof. Jim Heath at Caltech. There his research focused on developing efficient strategies for the synthesis of mechanically interlocked compounds and incorporating these molecules onto surfaces and into solid-state devices. Prof. Dichtel began his independent career in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University in 2008 and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2014. He moved to Northwestern University in the summer of 2016 as the Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry.
Our group’s research has since been recognized with a number of National Awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2015, the National Fresenius Award from the Phi Lambda Upsilon National Chemistry Honor Society, the Polymer International – IUPAC Award for for Creativity in Applied Polymer Science, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society, a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Sloan Research Fellowship, and a Beckman Young Investigator Award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.
When away from the lab, Will enjoys swimming, especially in open bodies of water, cooking over his charcoal grill, and spending time with his family.