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)


Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Award, 2011

Fulbright Specialist, 2009
Alexander von Humboldt and JSPS Senior Fellowships, 2005
Pollack Award, 2003
Izatt-Christensen Award, 2001
Fellow of the AAAS, 1999
ACS Cope Scholar, 1991
Sloan Fellow, 1989
Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 1988


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

Gong, H.-Y.; Rambo, B. M.; Karnas, E.; Lynch, V. M.; Sessler, J. L. “A ‘Texas-sized’ molecular box that forms an anion-induced supramolecular necklace,” Nature Chem. 2010, 2, 406-409.


Kim, S. K.; Sessler, J. L.: Gross, D. L.; Lee, C.-H.; Kim, J. S.; Lynch, V. M.; Delmau, L. H.; Hay, B. P. “A Calix[4]arene Strapped Calix[4]pyrrole: An Ion-Pair Receptor Displaying Three Different Cesium Cation Recognition Modes,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2010, 132, 5827–5836.


Park, J. S.; Karnas, E.; Ohkubo, K.; Chen, P.; Kadish, K. M.; Fukuzumi, S.; Bielawski, C. W.; Hudnall, R. W.; Lynch, V. M.; Sessler, J. L. “Ion-Mediated Electron Transfer in a Donor-Acceptor Ensemble,” Science 2010, 329, 1324-1326.


Arambula, J. F.; Siddik, Z.; Sessler, J. L. “Overcoming biochemical pharmacologic mechanisms of platinum resistance with a texaphyrin-platinum conjugate,” Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2011, 21, 1701-1705.


Rambo, B. M.; Sessler, J. L. “Oligopyrrole Macrocycles: Receptors and Chemosensors for Potentially Hazardous Materials,” Chem. Eur. J. 2011, 17, 4946 – 4959.