Physical Sciences Division
Inspiration from nature
Greg Engel earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton in 1999 and his doctorate from Harvard in 2004. He joined Chicago’s faculty in 2007. You can learn more about his work, students, and research group at his Web site.
Engel’s interest in biochemistry predates his Chicago appointment. As a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he worked to discover the quantum mechanical principles behind photosynthesis. His interest in recreating natural processes like photosynthesis in a chemical system, a project which could lead to high-energy biofuels, later earned him a grant from the US Air Force, as part of the Young Investigator Research Program.
In 2007, Engel was named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Research Leaders. More recently, he was honored at the White House as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the US government on young scientists.
Graduate students come in with no notion of what’s impossible, and sometimes expand what is possible. The Graduate Fund for the Physical Sciences helps faculty members like Engel train tomorrow’s scientists and support them through their critical years of research.