Christopher Schuh

  • Dean of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • John G. Searle Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

Christopher Schuh is the dean of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Northwestern University where he holds the title of John G. Searle Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

Schuh, who began his tenure as dean of Northwestern Engineering on August 1, 2023, was previously POSCO Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he served as Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 2011 to 2020. As Department Head, Schuh oversaw the development and implementation of a sweeping strategic plan resulting in growth and increased diversity among faculty ranks, an increase in research expenditures, an expansion of the department’s space profile, the completion of successful fundraising campaigns, endowed fellowship support for all incoming graduate students, new programming in entrepreneurship and innovation, and the roll out of online materials science courses offered to learners around the world.

Prior to joining MIT in 2002, Schuh held the Ernest O. Lawrence postdoctoral fellowship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Schuh’s research is focused on structural materials including metals and ceramics, in which he seeks to control disorder in material microstructures for the purpose of optimizing mechanical properties. His research group uses experiments, analytical theory, and computer simulations to explore the processing-structure-property relationships in structural metals and materials. His more than 250 research articles have been published in academic journals such as Physical Review LettersScience, and Acta Materialia, where he also serves as coordinating editor.

A seasoned entrepreneur, Schuh has cofounded a number of metallurgical companies. His first MIT spin-out company, Xtalic Corporation, commercialized a process from Schuh’s laboratory to control the internal structure in metal electroplated coatings down to the nanometer scale, producing exceptional mechanical and functional properties. These nanocrystalline coatings provide wear and corrosion resistance to metal surfaces and are widely used in enterprise and personal electronic devices. Schuh also cofounded Desktop Metal, an additive manufacturing company producing 3D metal printers that address a range of markets with an emphasis on production scale.

Schuh earned his bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997 and PhD in materials science and engineering from Northwestern in 2001. His honors include being named a fellow of ASM International and the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, as well as a MacVicar Fellow of MIT. He is also a member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors.