Professor Emeritus to Head Water Research Initiative at Institute for Molecular Engineering

He aims to broaden the institute’s engineering research to water-related practices.

By Solomon Dworkin

James L. Skinner has been appointed as the new director of the Water Research Initiative at the Institute for Molecular Engineering as part of its push to expand water-related research. 

Skinner is a renowned theoretical chemist and a leading researcher on hydrogen bonding in water. He worked as a professor emeritus and director of the Theoretical Chemistry Institute at the University of Wisconsin–Madison since 1990.  

His appointment comes as part of an effort to broaden the scope of research beyond engineering to new technology and water-related processes. The Water Research Initiative was established in 2013 as a collaboration between the University of Chicago, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, and Argonne National Laboratory.  

Skinner described water research as particularly timely given the short supply of drinkable water in many regions of the world and an increased demand for water purification systems. “That’s one reason coming to IME is so exciting. We have an opportunity here to make a difference on a global scale,” he said in a press release.