Teri W. Odom

Teri W. Odom is an American chemist and materials scientist. She is the Chair of the Chemistry Department, the Joan Husting Madden and William H. Madden, Jr. Professor of Chemistry, and a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. She is affiliated with the university’s International Institute for Nanotechnology, Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Northwestern Initiative for Manufacturing Science and Innovation, Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Graduate Program, and Department of Applied Physics.

Odom attended Stanford University, where she earned a BS in chemistry, was elected to Phi Beta Kapps, and received the Standford’s Marsden Memorial Prize for Chemistry Research (1996). She obtained her PhD in chemical physics from Harvard University in 2001 under the guidance of Charles M. Lieber, then conducted post-doctoral research at Harvard with George M. Whitesides from 2001 to 2002.

Odom joined Northwestern University’s Department of Chemistry in 2002 and became the department chair in 2018. In 2010, she became the founding chair of the Noble Metal Nanoparticles Gordon Research Conference. Between 2016 and 2018, she was associate director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology. Odom has worked on the editorial advisory boards of ACS Nano, Bioconjugate Chemistry, Materials Horizons, Annual Review of Physical Chemistry Natural Sciences, Nano Futures and Accounts of Chemical Research. Odom became an inaugural Associate Editor for Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemical Science journal in 2009, a position she held until 2013. She was on the editorial advisory board of Nano Letters beginning in 2010 and became editor-in-chief in 2019. In 2013, she became a founding Executive Editor for ACS Photonics.

Research in the Odom group focus on controlling materials at 100 nm scale and investigating their size and shape-dependent properties. Odom group has developed parallel, multi-scale pattering tools to generate hierarchical, anisotropic, and 3D hard and soft materials with applications in imaging, sensing, wetting and cancer therapeutics. As a result of Odom’s nanofabrication tools, she has developed flat optics that can manipulate light at the nanoscale and beat the diffraction limit and tunable plasmon-based lasers. Odom also conducts research into nanoparticle-cell interactions using new biological nanoconstructs that offer imaging and therapeutic functions due to their shape (gold nanostar).

Odom’s husband Brian, now a physicist and astronomer at Northwestern University, piqued her interest in science by introducing her to the double-slit experiment while they were dating. He encouraged her to pursue undergraduate summer research, an experience that inspired her to continue studying physics and chemistry.

Teri W. Odom is an expert in designing structured nanoscale materials that exhibit extraordinary size and shape-dependent optical properties. Odom has pioneered a suite of multi-scale nanofabrication tools that has resulted in flat optics that can manipulate light at the nanoscale and beat the diffraction limit, plasmon-based nanoscale lasers that exhibit tunable color, and hierarchical substrates that show controlled wetting and super-hydrophobicity. She has also invented a class of biological nanoconstructs that are facilitating unique insight into nanoparticle-cell interactions and that show superior imaging and therapeutic properties because of their gold nanostar shape.

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