Julia Kalow

Northwestern University

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Bio: Julia pursued graduate studies at Princeton University with Prof. Abigail Doyle, and was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT with Prof. Timothy Swager. She started her research group at Northwestern’s Department of Chemistry in July 2016, developing strategies to control the synthesis and properties of polymeric materials with light. Her group’s research has been recognized with the AFOSR Young Investigator Award and the Sloan Research Fellowship.

Abstract Title: Light as a selection pressure in photochemical “directed evolution”

Abstract Body: The evolving demands of the modern world call for new materials with advanced performance and minimal environmental footprint. As the structural complexity of these materials increases, the traditional iterative approach to synthesis, testing, and optimization becomes prohibitively time-consuming and labor-intensive. Here, I will present an abiotic approach to the discovery of new organic materials inspired by directed evolution. The key advance that makes this approach possible is the discovery of reaction mechanisms that link a stimulus (light) to the target (photophysical) properties.