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Maxwell J. Robb

Professor of Chemistry

Curriculum Vitae

Max was born and raised in Colorado and obtained his B.S. in Chemistry at the Colorado School of Mines where he began research in synthetic polymer chemistry under the guidance of Prof. Daniel M. Knauss. After graduating in 2009, Max carried out his Ph.D. studies in the laboratories of Prof. Craig J. Hawker at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His doctoral research focused broadly on the synthesis of functional organic materials and was recognized by the American Chemical Society with the 2016 Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Chemistry. Max conducted his postdoctoral work with Prof. Jeffrey S. Moore at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign as a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow prior to joining the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Caltech as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry in September 2017. Max was promoted to Professor of Chemistry with tenure at Caltech in May 2024.


2014  Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

2009  B.S. in Chemistry, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO


2024–Present  Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

2017–2024  Assistant Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

2014–2017  Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Jeffrey S. Moore, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

2009–2014  Graduate student researcher with Prof. Craig J. Hawker, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

Honors and Awards

2023  National Fresenius Award

2023  Rose Hills Foundation Innovator Award

2022  ACS Polymers Au Rising Star

2022  Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

2022  Sloan Research Fellowship

2022  NSF CAREER Award

2022  PMSE Young Investigator Award, ACS Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering

2022  Academic Young Investigator, ACS Division of Organic Chemistry

2020  Beckman Young Investigator Award

2020  ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award

2018  Caltech Graduate Student Council Teaching Award

2018  Thieme Chemistry Journal Award

2016  ACS Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Chemistry

2016  IChemE Global Award (Oil and Gas) for “Autonomous detection of damage in coatings” (BP/ICAM team)

2015  Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship

2012  CSP Technologies Fellowship

2010  Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE SCGF)

2010  National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP)

2010  Phi Lambda Upsilon Award

2009  University of California Regents Special Fellowship

2009  Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Fellowship

2009  Outstanding Senior Research Award

2009  Outstanding Graduating Senior, Department of Chemistry

2009  ACS Student Travel Grant

2008  Edna H. Dumke Memorial Scholarship

2008  Nutter Memorial Scholarship

2008  Staritzky Scholarship

2008  Outstanding Achievement Award in Analytical Chemistry

2007  Outstanding Achievement Award in Organic Chemistry

2007  CSM President’s Scholarship

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