Prof. Macfarlane



California Institute of Technology – Kavli Nanoscience Institute Postdoctoral Fellow
     PI: Harry A. Atwater (Materials Science) and Robert H. Grubbs (Chemistry)

Northwestern University – PhD in Chemistry, 2013
     PI: Chad A. Mirkin

Yale University – MS in Chemistry, 2006
     PI: Ann M. Valentine

Willamette University – BA in Biochemistry, 2004
     PI: J. Charles Williamson


Rob Macfarlane was born in Palmer, Alaska, and obtained his BA in biochemistry from Willamette University in 2004, graduating magna cum laude with departmental honors. After earning a MS in Chemistry at Yale University in 2006, Rob moved to the lab of Chad Mirkin at Northwestern, where his research focused on the development of a series of design rules for the DNA-programmed assembly of nanoparticles. Upon graduating from NU in 2013, he was awarded a Kavli Nanoscience Institute post-doctoral fellowship, and worked jointly in the labs of Robert Grubbs and Harry Atwater at Caltech, where his research focused on the development of self-assembling photonic crystals using brush block copolymer architectures. Rob joined the faculty of MIT’s department of materials science in 2015, where his research program builds upon the themes of nanoscale self-assembly developed in his graduate and post-doctoral work, using both organic polymers and inorganic nanoparticles to program the synthesis of materials with complete control over materials structure at the nanometer length scale.


– Unilever Award for Outstanding Young Investigator in Colloid & Surfactant Science (2017)
– NSF CAREER Award, Division of Materials Research (2017)
– Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award (2016)
– Noble Metal Nanoparticle Gordon Research Conference Selected Poster (2014)
– IUPAC Young Investigator Award, Honorable Mention (2013)
– Kavli Nanoscience Institute Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2013)
– Materials Research Society Gold Graduate Student Award (2011)
– International Precious Metals Institute Sabin Corp. Graduate Student Award (2011)
– International Institute for Nanotechnology Outstanding Researcher Award (2010)
– Ryan Fellowship, Northwestern University (2009)
– Barry M. Goldwater Scholar (2003)
– WUSCRP Research Grant Awardee (2002)
– National Merit Scholar (2000)
– Dean’s List, Willamette University (2000-2004)
– The Freshman Award in Chemistry, Willamette University (2001)
– TW Collins Scholarship (2000-2004)

Link to CV

Photo: Lillie Paquette – MIT School of Engineering