News & Events Archive

The Office for Research sponsors various events throughout the year including workshops for managers of core facilities. The purpose of a workshop is to provide an opportunity for discussion between university administrators, directors and managers of core facilities, and PIs. Topics include how to set up a new core facility, how to navigate grant applications, how to perform a cost study, how to protect the intellectual property of NU researchers working in core facilities, and other topics that are relevant to core facilities. The following events include workshops sponsored by the Office for Research

News Archive

Phil Hockberger, assistant vice president for research, received the President's Special Recognition Award from the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF).

The honor, established in 2014, is awarded to the association’s members who have distinguished themselves by years of exceptional service to the organization and the shared resources community. This year marks just the second time the award has been bestowed.

Hockberger joined ABRF in 2010 and was a founding member of its first regional chapter, the Midwest Association of Core Directors, co-organizing the first and second regional meetings ever held in Chicago. 

“Among his other contributions, Phil has been an active member of the light microscopy research group helping to increase the ABRF light microscopy program,” says William Hendrickson, ABRF president. “He was also a founding member of the highly successful Core Administrators Network, which has become a major segment of the ABRF community. He is a leader in the career development committee and chaired the program committee for the 2014 national meeting.”

The organization will recognize Hockberger at its annual meeting on March 28 in San Diego.

“To be just the second person recognized in this way is a true honor,” says Hockberger, who has overseen Northwestern’s Core Facilities since 2009. “A career in cores presents an amazing opportunity to bring high-end instrumentation and expertise to researchers. By overseeing these instruments — typically too expensive for any one lab — core directors play a pivotal role in pathbreaking discovery.”

As a leading member of the ABRF career development committee, Hockberger started a Chicago-based group mentorship program that brings core directors together once a month over dinner to discuss challenges of this career path.

“We began with a group of biomedical researchers and have since expanded to engineers,” says Hockberger. “One of my biggest passions is to influence the next generation of core directors to help them realize the affect they can have on the scientific discoveries of tomorrow.”

ABRF is an international society dedicated to advancing core and research biotechnology laboratories through research, technology, communication, and education. The organization includes more than 900 research community members working within or in the support of resource and research biotechnology laboratories.

Article by Roger Anderson from March 13, 2017

Published here,



Northwestern has named Andrew Ott, chemistry, as its new director of Core Facilities, effective April 1.

Ott will continue in his role as director of the Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center (IMSERC), splitting his time equally as director of Northwestern’s more than 45 Core Facilities.

“Andy’s record of success in running IMSERC demonstrates that he is ready to take on the additional responsibility of leading Northwestern’s Cores now and into the future,” says Phil Hockberger, assistant vice president for research, who has been responsible for oversight of Core Facilities since 2009. “During the past decade, IMSERC has evolved from a relatively small operation into one of the University’s largest and most impressive facilities. A big part of that transformation is attributable to Andy’s leadership.”

Core Facilities play a pivotal role in Northwestern’s research infrastructure by providing laboratory space, instrumentation, and technical support that investigators rely on to push forward pathbreaking discoveries.

As director of IMSERC since 2006, Ott oversaw a doubling of revenue and quadrupling of utilization. The facility, which resides in a new $18 million space in the Technological Institute, features eight nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, nine mass spectrometers, four x-ray diffractometers, and numerous smaller instruments. Those tools are used to conduct a range of chemical analysis including qualitative composition determination and molecular structure determination.

“I have always enjoyed working as part of large interdisciplinary teams to attack important and difficult scientific problems,” says Ott, who worked for semiconductor manufacturing company Intel prior to joining the University. “My time at Intel and at Northwestern has taught me that I can accomplish more in a supportive role as part of a larger organization than I ever could on my own.”

A trained chemist and engineer, Ott has worked on chemical vapor deposition and the fabrication of semiconductor devices, and has been a leading contributor on nearly two dozen publications and 10 patents.

“I hope that my enthusiasm and years of expertise will lower technical barriers for faculty who want to enter new research fields.  Coming from my current position as a Core director, I am well positioned to build on the existing support structure that has enabled Core directors and staff to make very difficult experiments seem routine,” says Ott.

Ott’s new responsibilities as director of Core Facilities include: managing the Office for Research biannual equipment competition; evaluating annual reports and operating support requests from Core Facilities; providing feedback on annual reports and selection of awardees; managing program review of Core Facilities; leading quarterly meetings of the Core Facilities Advisory Board; and supervising Core Facility administration staff.


Article by Roger Anderson, featured in Research News on February 13, 2017,

The MWACD Organizing Committee is proud to announce
TWO Travel Awards for use toward the ABRF 2017 Conference in San Diego, CA on March 25-29.
To apply for one of (2) $500 Awards please complete this application by February 24th.
Award Winners will be notified by March 3rd.

Northwestern has named Frank Lantz as operations director at the University’s Research Shop, located in the Technological Institute on the Evanston campus.

 Lantz will oversee daily operations of the former professional Instrument Shop and Student Shop (now called the Research Shop)­ and will advise and consult on projects; coordinate with the operations directors of the Ford and Electronics Shops, when appropriate; and manage outsourcing decisions.

“The Research Shop is a critical part of the Office for Research portfolio of Core facilities,” says Phil Hockberger, assistant vice president for research. “Frank will work with Faculty Director Brian Odom, physics and astronomy, to ensure students and faculty can move ideas from design to implementation.”

The Research Shop’s ongoing modernization provides expanded space to design and build new instruments, create parts, make repairs, or outsource machining needs. Construction of the renovated and expanded space is expected to be complete in summer 2017.

Lantz previously worked as director of manufacturing at NanoInk, helping to bring micro- and nanoscale technologies, instruments, as well as medical test products, from R&D to production. He also has consulted on manufacturing and operations at Methode Electronics, a leading developer of custom-engineered and application-specific products. There, he planned and directed lean manufacturing and continuous improvement programs within the dataMate & MDC divisions, which were responsible for creating solutions to increase data transmission speeds and develop conductive inks used in the electronics industry, respectively.

“Northwestern has provided me with the opportunity to tackle the myriad challenges involved in developing an excellent operation with the capacity to help bring ideas and systems to fruition, strengthen communication, and bolster relationships,” says Lantz. “I am very happy to be here and look forward to fulfilling the needs of our shop customers, while attracting new customers with our expertise and execution.”

Article by Roger Anderson. Originally posted on 12/14/16 here,