Cole DeForest | AIChE

Cole DeForest

Asst. Professor of Chemical Engineering & Adjunct Asst. Professor of Bioengineering
University of Washington

With a lengthy list of accomplishments and awards to his name, DeForest is an achiever who regularly sets his sights on the highest peaks and surmounts them. An assistant professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering at the Univ. of Washington, he teaches classes on reactor design, polymer chemistry, and biological frameworks and manages a research group that develops novel biomaterial-based strategies for human health applications.

The biological side of chemical engineering interested DeForest even before he’d taken his first chemical engineering course. A summer undergraduate research position working in tissue engineering and biomaterial design stoked his enthusiasm for the topic. In his current position, he plans to push the boundaries of biomaterials research, successfully engineering functional, multicellular, complex tissues for transplantation.

DeForest’s research may be intellectually demanding, but it is saying goodbye to students that he finds hardest. He describes working with students and developing them “into the next generation of independent scientists” as the best part of his job. The attention he balances between his students and research earned him the highest recognition for teaching excellence at the Univ. of Washington in 2016, the Presidential Distinguished Teaching Award. He is an example of successful work-life balance, finding time for many professional successes as well as time “to live life to the fullest with my family and friends.”