News & Events Archive

The Office for Research sponsors various events throughout the year including workshops for managers of core facilities. The purpose of a workshop is to provide an opportunity for discussion between university administrators, directors and managers of core facilities, and PIs. Topics include how to set up a new core facility, how to navigate grant applications, how to perform a cost study, how to protect the intellectual property of NU researchers working in core facilities, and other topics that are relevant to core facilities. The following events include workshops sponsored by the Office for Research

News Archive

Northwestern has named Andrew Ott, chemistry, as its new director of Core Facilities, effective April 1.

Ott will continue in his role as director of the Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center (IMSERC), splitting his time equally as director of Northwestern’s more than 45 Core Facilities.

“Andy’s record of success in running IMSERC demonstrates that he is ready to take on the additional responsibility of leading Northwestern’s Cores now and into the future,” says Phil Hockberger, assistant vice president for research, who has been responsible for oversight of Core Facilities since 2009. “During the past decade, IMSERC has evolved from a relatively small operation into one of the University’s largest and most impressive facilities. A big part of that transformation is attributable to Andy’s leadership.”

Core Facilities play a pivotal role in Northwestern’s research infrastructure by providing laboratory space, instrumentation, and technical support that investigators rely on to push forward pathbreaking discoveries.

As director of IMSERC since 2006, Ott oversaw a doubling of revenue and quadrupling of utilization. The facility, which resides in a new $18 million space in the Technological Institute, features eight nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, nine mass spectrometers, four x-ray diffractometers, and numerous smaller instruments. Those tools are used to conduct a range of chemical analysis including qualitative composition determination and molecular structure determination.

“I have always enjoyed working as part of large interdisciplinary teams to attack important and difficult scientific problems,” says Ott, who worked for semiconductor manufacturing company Intel prior to joining the University. “My time at Intel and at Northwestern has taught me that I can accomplish more in a supportive role as part of a larger organization than I ever could on my own.”

A trained chemist and engineer, Ott has worked on chemical vapor deposition and the fabrication of semiconductor devices, and has been a leading contributor on nearly two dozen publications and 10 patents.

“I hope that my enthusiasm and years of expertise will lower technical barriers for faculty who want to enter new research fields.  Coming from my current position as a Core director, I am well positioned to build on the existing support structure that has enabled Core directors and staff to make very difficult experiments seem routine,” says Ott.

Ott’s new responsibilities as director of Core Facilities include: managing the Office for Research biannual equipment competition; evaluating annual reports and operating support requests from Core Facilities; providing feedback on annual reports and selection of awardees; managing program review of Core Facilities; leading quarterly meetings of the Core Facilities Advisory Board; and supervising Core Facility administration staff.


Article by Roger Anderson, featured in Research News on February 13, 2017,

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To apply for one of (2) $500 Awards please complete this application by February 24th.
Award Winners will be notified by March 3rd.

Northwestern has named Frank Lantz as operations director at the University’s Research Shop, located in the Technological Institute on the Evanston campus.

 Lantz will oversee daily operations of the former professional Instrument Shop and Student Shop (now called the Research Shop)­ and will advise and consult on projects; coordinate with the operations directors of the Ford and Electronics Shops, when appropriate; and manage outsourcing decisions.

“The Research Shop is a critical part of the Office for Research portfolio of Core facilities,” says Phil Hockberger, assistant vice president for research. “Frank will work with Faculty Director Brian Odom, physics and astronomy, to ensure students and faculty can move ideas from design to implementation.”

The Research Shop’s ongoing modernization provides expanded space to design and build new instruments, create parts, make repairs, or outsource machining needs. Construction of the renovated and expanded space is expected to be complete in summer 2017.

Lantz previously worked as director of manufacturing at NanoInk, helping to bring micro- and nanoscale technologies, instruments, as well as medical test products, from R&D to production. He also has consulted on manufacturing and operations at Methode Electronics, a leading developer of custom-engineered and application-specific products. There, he planned and directed lean manufacturing and continuous improvement programs within the dataMate & MDC divisions, which were responsible for creating solutions to increase data transmission speeds and develop conductive inks used in the electronics industry, respectively.

“Northwestern has provided me with the opportunity to tackle the myriad challenges involved in developing an excellent operation with the capacity to help bring ideas and systems to fruition, strengthen communication, and bolster relationships,” says Lantz. “I am very happy to be here and look forward to fulfilling the needs of our shop customers, while attracting new customers with our expertise and execution.”

Article by Roger Anderson. Originally posted on 12/14/16 here,

The Open Access Initiative, a pioneering memorandum of understanding among Northwestern and two other leaders in academic research, has been extended for a third year.

First signed in 2014, the initiative allows researchers from Northwestern, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago access to a partner’s instrumentation and expertise at no additional charge.

“By eliminating administrative obstacles, this initiative has provided researchers with greater access to world-class facilities,” says Phil Hockberger, assistant vice president for research and executive director of Northwestern’s research facilities. “As communication and coordination continues to increase, joint grant writing has resulted in some big wins for Chicago’s research community.”

Among those funding victories are two regional research centers:

  • The Regional Chicago CTSA Consortium (RC3) combines the strengths of all three Chicago Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) institutions for multi-level engagement and sharing of best practices.
  • Northwestern and the University of Chicago received a National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) Grant. The National Science Foundation awarded the five-year, $5 million award to establish the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource. The award’s primary goal is to coordinate the integration of a diverse, open-access group of nanoscale fabrication and characterization facilities across the two institutions for internal and external academic and industrial users.   

The Open Access Initiative enhances the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, established in 2006 to stimulate collaboration among scientists at the three institutions with funding from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust.