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NUANCE Organization Structure

NUANCE Center Administrative Staff


Prof. Vinayak P. Dravid
NUANCE Center Director; Professor, Materials Science & Engineering

Office: Technological Institute, #A191
(847) 467-1363

Vinayak Dravid is the founding director of the NUANCE Center, an award-winning microscopy and surface science research facility used annually by hundreds of researchers from across myriad scientific fields.  He provides leadership of the NUANCE Center: in addition to leading his own active research group. He oversees the administrative and technical functions of the Center.


Katy Dean
Outreach Coordinator

Office: Technological Institute, #A194
(847) 467-3144

Katy coordinates NUANCE's outreach activities and online presence. She is the point person for NUANCE’s many events, workshops, lectures and tours in addition to managing NUANCE's website, social media, and video platforms.


Chad Goeser
Associate Center Administrator

Office: Technological Institute, #A195
(847) 467-2318


Chad manages NUANCE business operations, including: appointment, payroll & visa processing, billing, budgeting, equipment purchasing and administering facilities maintenance. He works with various Northwestern administrative units on all aspects of operational analysis and reporting.


Young Kasarski
Financial Administrator

Office: Technological Institute, #A194
(847) 467-1128


Young's responsibilities include financial transactions, reporting and reconciliation, contracts management, capital procurement, and financial onboarding/monitoring of external accounts. She prepares periodic account and statistical data and works with the Center Administrator on various reporting, auditing, and budgeting practices.


Tara M Sadera
Program Administrator

Office: Technological Institute, #A193
(847) 491-7795

Tara provides primary administrative support to the Director of NUANCE, managing communication between the Director and various constituents to build and maintain local, national, and international relationships.

NUANCE Center Advisory Committee

Francesca CasadioFrancesca Casadio

Executive Director of Conservation and Science at the Art Institute of Chicago

Founder & co-director of the Northwestern University / Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts



Francesca Casadio joined the Art Institute of Chicago in July 2003 as the Museum's first A. W. Mellon Senior Conservation Scientist and founding member of the scientific research laboratory. In January 2018 she was named the Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science: in this capacity she leads a team of over thirty specialists for objects, paintings, frames, works on paper, photographs, books, other printed materials, textiles, time-based media, and scientific research. Francesca received her PhD and MS degrees in Chemistry from the University of Milan, Italy. She is also the founder and co-Director of the Northwestern University / Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS). Casadio has authored and edited several publications in the scientific and conservation literature, including edited books and essays in museum catalogs. She’s passionate about communicating the work of conservators and scientists to the public, students, and the media. In 2006 she was the recipient of the L’Oréal Art and Science of Color Silver Prize.

NG PicNathan Gianneschi, PhD

Jacob & Rosaline Cohn Professor of Chemistry

Office: Technological Institute #J131
(847) 491-2105

Nathan C. Gianneschi received his B.Sc(Hons) at the University of Adelaide, Australia in 1999. In 2005 he completed his Ph.D at Northwestern University. Following a Dow Chemical postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute, in 2008 he began his independent career at the University of California, San Diego where, until June 2017, he was Teddy Traylor Scholar and Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, NanoEngineering and Materials Science & Engineering. In July of 2017, Gianneschi moved his research group to Northwestern University where he is currently Jacob & Rosaline Cohn Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science & Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering. The Gianneschi group takes an interdisciplinary approach to nanomaterials research with a focus on multifunctional materials with interests that include biomedical applications, programmed interactions with biomolecules and cells, and basic research into nanoscale materials design, synthesis and characterization. For this work he has been awarded the NIH Director's New Innovator Award, the NIH Director's Transformative Research Award and the White House's highest honor for young scientists and engineers with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Prof. Gianneschi was awarded a Dreyfus Foundation Fellowship, is a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow.

HersamProf. Mark C. Hersam
Bette and Neison Harris Chair in Teaching Excellence
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Director, Materials Research Science and Engineering (MRSEC)

Office: Cook Hall, #1017A
(847) 491-2696

Nanomaterials for Electronics, Sensing, and Energy

The Hersam Research Group applies the fundamental paradigm of materials science and engineering (i.e., the development of structure-property-processing-performance relationships) to hybrid hard and soft materials at the nanometer length scale. In many cases, the objective is to apply organic molecules to inorganic substrates in an effort to increase the functionality of the resulting hybrid system (e.g., silicon-based molecular electronics and graphene-based sensing). In other instances, an experimental technique that was originally developed for inorganic materials is adapted for the study of organic or biological systems (e.g., probing ion channels and organic photovoltaic devices using conductive atomic force microscopy).

This highly interdisciplinary research is enabled by a sophisticated suite of instrumentation including ultra-high vacuum (UHV) scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and additional equipment for studying the electrical and optical properties of materials.

Ongoing research projects range from fundamental studies (e.g., single molecule spectroscopy with UHV STM) to applied technology development (e.g., optimization of carbon nanotube and graphene materials for electronic and optical devices).

Overall, this research has wide impact in the fields of information technology, energy technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.

Erik Luijten

Prof. Erik Luijten

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, and (by courtesy) Physics and Astronomy

Chair of Materials Science and Engineering

Office: Cook Hall, #2045
(847) 491-5658

Prof. Luijten's research focuses on the statistical mechanics and thermodynamics of materials, with a strong emphasis on complex fluids, such as polymeric systems, colloids, electrolytes, and active matter. These systems are studied predominantly by means of computer simulations, through which we aim to realize our primary goals: First, to understand experimentally observed phenomena from the underlying microscopic features of a system, and second, to test the predictive value of analytic theories describing these systems. The insight thus gained allows the prediction of yet unknown properties of materials and the design of new materials.

Current research projects concern problems in self-assembly (from colloidal materials to nanoparticles for drug delivery), self-organization, charge transport in electrolytes, programmable and active matter, and dielectric materials.

Despite the steady increase in available computer power, many of these problems hover on the verge of what is feasible. Therefore, in order to obtain scientifically worthwhile results within an acceptable time frame, it is essential to employ state-of-the-art techniques. We take an active interest in the development of new methodologies, both simulation techniques and advanced approaches to data analysis. Notable advances have been achieved in the development of Monte Carlo algorithms for systems with long-range interactions and systems containing components with large size disparities; in both cases, our methods accelerate the simulations by many orders of magnitude. Important recent advances also include highly efficient methods for dynamic dielectric materials and electrokinetic pheno.

MarksProf. Tobin J. Marks
Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry; Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalyic Chemistry

Office: Cook Hall, #1017A
(847) 491-5658

Among the themes of Prof. Marks' research are synthetic organo-f-element and early-transition metal organometallic chemistry, polymer chemistry, materials chemistry, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, molecule-based photonic materials, superconductivity, metal-organic chemical vapor deposition, and biological aspects of transition metal chemistry. 

He earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Maryland in 1966 and a Ph.D. from MIT in 1971 in Inorganic Chemistry. He has received American Chemical Society National Awards in Polymeric Materials, 1983; Organometallic Chemistry, 1989; Inorganic Chemistry, 1994; Chemistry of Materials, 2001; Distinguished Service in Inorganic Chemistry, 2008; Organic Chemistry (Cope Senior Scholar), 2010; and Catalysis (Somorjai), 2013. He also received the 2000 American Chemical Society Cotton Medal; 2001 American Chemical Society Willard Gibbs Medal; 2001 N. American Catalysis Society Burwell Award; 2001 American Chemical Society Linus Pauling Medal; 2002 American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal; 2003 German Chemical Society Karl Ziegler Prize; 2004 Royal Society of Chemistry Frankland Medal, and 2005 American Chemical Society Bailar Medal. More recently, in April 2016, Prof. Marks was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors in Washington, D.C., received the 2015 Luigi Sacconi Medal, and won the 2015 Materials for Industry-Derek Birchall Award for his work on industrial application of new organic, inorganic and hybrid materials for electronics and photonics.

He also received Doctor of Science degrees honoris causa, from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2011, the University of South Carolina in 2011, and the Ohio State University in 2012.

emily weissEmily Weiss

Mark and Nancy Ratner Professor of Chemestry, Professor Of Materials Science and Engineering (by courtesy), Director Photo-Sciences Research Center (PSRC)

Office: Technological Institute, K330