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Aaron P. Esser-Kahn


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About Aaron

Aaron was born and raised in Bloomfield Hills, MI. He attended the Cranbrook educational community from grades K-12. He traveled west to study chemistry at the California Institute of Technology where he was introduced to boundary-breaking research in the Tirrell lab. After completing his degree, he traveled north to Berkeley for a PhD in Chemistry as part of the collaborative Chemical-Biology Program and the Francis lab.


Inspired by the work of the Autonomous Materials Systems group at UIUC, Aaron traveled back to the midwest to learn about how to perform iinterdisciplinary research. Aaron began his independent research career as an assistant and then associate professor at UC-Irvine where he was fortunate to have fantastic colleagues, gifted students, and a wonderful environment to grow his research program. In 2017, he moved the research group to the University of Chicago to build on the areas of Immunoengineering and Materials. Here, he is fortunate to have gifted students, fantastic colleagues, and an excellent research environment tailored to the areas of Immunoengineering and Materials.


Postdoctoral Research, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Advisor Jeffrey Moore)

Ph.D in Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 2009 (Advisor Matthew Francis)

B.S. in Chemistry, Caltech, 2004 (w/ David Tirrell)

Favorite Quote

"There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery."

-Enrico Fermi

Scientific Hero(s)

Maurice Hilleman, Carl Bosch, Willis Carrier, Jennifer Doudna

Favorite Paper(s)

Specific enzymatic amplification of DNA in vitro: the polymerase chain reaction. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 1986;51 Pt 1:263-73. doi: 10.1101/sqb.1986.051.01.032.

Approaching the Asymptote? Evolution and Revolution in Immunology. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol 1989. 54: 1-13


If you could be a piece of lab equipment, what would you be?

"I am not sure I could pick just one, but forced to choose a few - the flow cytometer -  it is where the culmination of hard work turns into results. 

And a round-bottom flask: you get to see it all from there."

Aaron's Research & Publications

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