Melody Swartz, PhD Headshot

William B. Ogden Professor,

Institute for Molecular Engineering

Professor, Committee on Immunology

The University of Chicago


Melody A. Swartz is the William B. Ogden Professor of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. Her research is focused on the lymphatic system and aims to understand, modulate and exploit the complex roles of lymphatic vessels in immunity and pathophysiology, especially in cancer. Her lab draws on bioengineering approaches in cell biology and physiology, including biotransport and biomechanics, to investigate the role of lymphatic vessels in maintaining immunological tolerance and the role of lymphangiogenesis in controlling inflammation and immunity. She then applies this knowledge to develop novel immunotherapeutic approaches in cancer, including lymph node-targeting vaccine approaches.

Swartz holds a BS from the Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT under the guidance of Dr. Rakesh Jain at Harvard. She undertook postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School with Jeffrey Drazen and Roger Kamm before starting her independent career as an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University. She then spent 12 years at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), or Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, where she was a Professor of Bioengineering and later served as the Director of the Institute of Bioengineering. She moved back to the USA in 2014 to join the University of Chicago’s new Institute of Molecular Engineering, with a joint appointment in the Ben May Department of Cancer Research and appointments in the Cancer Biology and Immunology Committees. Her awards include the BMES Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award, the Arnold & Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award, the Wenner Prize from the Swiss Cancer League, the Wendy Chaite Leadership Award from the Lymphatic Research Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.