Melody Swartz

Melody Swartz

Professor
The University of Chicago

Swartz earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1991. As a Watson Foundation Fellow she then conducted a year of independent research in Micronesia on the “use and societal impact of Western technologies in undeveloped nations.”

Swartz next joined the anesthesiology department at the Northwestern University School of Medicine as a research assistant. She completed her PhD in chemical engineering in 1998 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, serving next as a postdoctoral fellow in the Pulmonary Division of Brigham & Women’s Hospital of the Harvard Medical School and of MIT’s department of mechanical engineering.

She later held joint faculty appointments in chemical & biological engineering and biomedical engineering at Northwestern. She joined the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lusanne (EPFL) faculty in 2003 while maintaining her Northwestern ties first as an adjunct assistant professor, then as a visiting scientist, in biomedical engineering.

Swartz's research focuses on how lymphatic vessels, and their transport functions, contribute to adaptive immunity. Biomedical scientists currently regard the fluid-drainage function of the lymphatic system as mostly important for maintaining tissue fluid balance. The cell transport functions, which regulate immunity, are considered separately.