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Stewart A. Mallory Joins Department of Chemistry Faculty

14 June 2021
Stewart Mallory

The Penn State Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Stewart A. Mallory will be joining the department faculty starting August 1, 2021 as an assistant professor of chemistry.

Mallory earned his doctoral degree at Columbia University and completed his undergraduate work at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He comes to Penn State from the California Institute of Technology, where he is an Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Chevron Professor of Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering John F. Brady.

Mallory is looking forward to returning to Penn State after enjoying a summer at the University as an undergraduate student. At that time, he was a part of Penn State’s Research Experience for Undergraduates in Soft Materials program. He notes that this program was a formative experience in his career as a chemist. “It is here at Penn State that I discovered my passion for scientific research and was introduced to the exciting world of theoretical chemistry,” Mallory explains. “Ever since then I have held Penn State in high regard as a research institution and a vibrant and inclusive community, and so it was an easy decision to return to Penn State to start my independent career. I continue to be impressed by the innovative spirit and collaborative culture of the faculty and students. I feel certain Penn State will be an ideal environment for me to thrive as a junior faculty member.”

Mallory is a computational and theoretical chemist. His group is interested in soft active matter, an exciting interdisciplinary research area at the intersection of chemistry, soft matter physics, and material science. “The grand challenge is to understand the unusual behavior of microscopic systems whose components consume energy to undergo directed motion,” he says. “From the chaotic swarming of bacterial suspensions to the ATP-driven processes that guide the spatial localization of cellular organelles, my group will use state-of-the-art simulation and theory to characterize the behavior of self-driven systems.”
Therefore, the mission of the Mallory group will be to leverage this understanding to design the next generation of functional materials and microfluidic devices with applications ranging from the clean-up and neutralization of environmental pollutants to establishing design principles for self-propelled micro-tools.
Mallory is looking forward to pursuing this research at Penn State, “I have always been fascinated by how nature has mastered the process of self-assembly to build a diverse array of microscopic structures,” he explains. “The theoretical tools developed in my group will bring us closer to a complete and detailed mechanistic understanding of the self-assembly pathway for different technologically relevant materials. One of the things that drew me to Penn State is the opportunity to create a unique synergy between experiment and theory. I look forward to establishing collaborative ties with groups with a related interest in soft matter and beyond.”
Aside from research, Mallory also hopes to work more closely with students. “As a faculty member, I am excited to mentor and teach graduate and undergraduate students,” he adds. “It is important to me to be fully committed to creating an inclusive, diverse, and intellectually rich research and teaching environment. Scientific progress cannot further flourish without a committed and diverse group of individuals to carry out its mission.  The world of theoretical chemistry continues to grow and evolve, and I am excited to train the next generation of theoreticians.”
Department Head Phil Bevilacqua notes, “We are truly looking forward to Stewart joining the faculty this summer.  His research in active matter is an excellent fit for both the theoretical and experimental sides of the department, and he has a deep commitment to students and diversity.”
Outside of the lab, Mallory is anticipating enjoying the natural beauty and outdoor activities that Pennsylvania has to offer. “As a Colorado native, I have always loved the outdoors,” he says. “After spending the last few years in big cities, I am looking forward to getting back out into nature and doing some hiking, biking, and fishing.” Mallory is also a sports fan and is looking forward to experiencing Penn State football in the fall. 

Please join the Department of Chemistry in welcoming Stewart Mallory.