Contact Information

Office: NHB 5.354A
Phone: 512-471-5009


Office: NHB 5.340/5.330
Phone: 512-471-6674

Jonathan L. Sessler

Professor, Faculty
Rowland Pettit Centennial Chair in Chemistry

Research Group

Sessler Group


BS, University of California - Berkeley, 1977
PhD, Stanford University, 1982
NSF-NATO and NSF-CNRS Postdoctoral Fellow, Universite Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg (1982-83)


1988    Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Award

1989    Sloan Fellow, 1989-1991

1991    Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award

1992    Outstanding Professor, College of Natural Sciences, University of Texas at Austin

1992    Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, Visiting Senior Scientist

1992    Alexander von Humboldt Stifung, Senior Visiting Scientist

2000    University of Texas at Austin, College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award

2001    Izatt-Christensen Award in Macrocyclic Chemistry

2011    Royal Society of Chemistry, Centenary Prize

2013    Southwest Regional ACS Award

2014    Molecular Sensors and Molecular Logic Gates Award (joint with Prof. Seiji Shinkai)


Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology; TI-3D; Environmental Science Institute

Molecular Engineering

My group might be considered to be in the business of "Molecular Engineering" in that our research involves the design and construction of molecules carefully tailored so as to accomplish a specific objective. Often these objectives are medically or biologically inspired in that we seek to understand complex biochemical processes through the study of simple, well-characterized "model" compounds or use our knowledge of chemistry to prepare new compounds that we think could find application in the clinic as novel therapeutic or diagnostic agents. On the other hand, as often as not, we simply set out to prepare molecules or assemblies of architectural elegance with interesting chemical, physical, or biological properties. In both cases, however, we try to accomplish our goals through an appropriate combination of design, synthesis, and testing. As a result, the research projects in the group tend to be highly interdisciplinary in nature, involving at times elements of inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, spectroscopy, and synthetic organic chemistry. This helps keep our research activities fresh, focused, and exciting, as does the fact that much of what we do relates to the "real world" of patents, patients, and biotechnology.

Representative Publications

Silver, E. S.; Rambo, B. M.; Bielawski, C. W.; Sessler, J. L. “Reversible Anion-induced Cross-Linking of Well-Defined calix[4]pyrrole-Containing Copolymers,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 2252–2255. DOI: 10.1021/ja4123895


Ho, I.-T.; Zhang, Z.; Ishida, M.; Lynch, V. M.; Cha, W.-Y.; Sung, Y. M.; Kim, D.; Sessler, J. L. “A Hybrid Macrocycle with a Pyridine Subunit Displays Aromatic Character upon Uranyl Cation Complexation,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 4281–4286. DOI: 10.1021/ja412520g


Thiabaud, G.; Arambula, J. F.; Siddik, Z. H.; Sessler, J. L. “Photo-induced reduction of Pt(IV) within an anti-proliferative Pt(IV)-texaphyrin conjugate allows for controlled DNA ligation,” Chem. Eur. J. 2014, 20, 8942-8947 (cover). DOI: 10.1002/chem.201403094


Ko, S.-K.; Kim, S. K.; Share, A.; Lynch, V. M.; Park, J.; Namkung, W.; Rossom, W. V.; Busschaert, N.; Gale, P. A.; Sessler, J. L.; Shin, I. “Diamide Strapped Calixpyrroles. Synthetic Ion Transporters That Induce Apoptosis,” Nature Chem. 2014, 6, 885–892. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2021


Gong, H.-Y.; Tang, F.; Rambo, B. M.; Cao, R.; Xiang, J.-F.; Sessler, J. L. “Aromatic sulfonate anion-induced pseudorotaxanes: environmentally benign synthesis, selectivity, and structural characterization,” ChemComm. 2015, 51, 1795-1798 (cover). DOI: 10.1039/c4cc08284b