Jennifer Reed, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering professor, passes away

// Chemical & Biological Engineering

It pains me to report the passing of Professor Jennifer Reed on July 5, 2020, after a long illness.

Photo of Jennifer Reed
Jennifer Reed

Jennie joined the chemical and biological engineering faculty at UW-Madison in 2007, jumpstarting the department’s research efforts in computational systems biology. Her scientific talents were evident early on, culminating in her receipt of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama in 2013. Other recognitions include her election as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and her appointment as the Karen and William Monfre Professor. A prolific and creative researcher, she authored over 70 papers and numerous book chapters during her too-short academic career. Her thoughtful and articulate leadership contributed greatly to the success of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.

Beyond her scientific accomplishments, Jennie was an extraordinarily caring mentor to the graduate and undergraduate students in her research group. Even in the face of her declining health, Jennie’s most-spoken concern was for the continued progress and success of her students. She was a gifted and popular classroom instructor; her dedication to her students garnered several teaching awards. Her campus service revolved around issues she was passionate about, with special interest in building a community for women students in engineering.

Jennie’s life was a profile in courage and grace. She will be deeply missed by all her friends and colleagues in the CBE community.

Professor Reed believed strongly in providing opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research activities, through which they gained confidence in their abilities, developed new skills, and contributed in meaningful ways to academic research. Jennie’s family has established an endowed fund in her honor, which will provide an award to one or more CBE undergraduates pursuing research, with preference given to students from underrepresented groups, including women. If you are interested in contributing to the Jennifer L. Reed Memorial Undergraduate Research Award, please go to https://www.supportuw.org/giveto/reedresearchaward.

Regina Murphy
Kreuz-Bascom Professor and R. Byron Bird Department Chair