Connor Coley joins the Schwarzman College of Computing

Coley appointed to a shared position between ChemE and the AI+D faculty of EECS.

Melanie Miller Kaufman |MIT Chemical Engineering
September 10, 2021
Categories: College News, Faculty

Connor W. Coley, the Henri Slezynger (1957) Career Development Assistant Professor, has been appointed to a shared position between MIT Chemical Engineering and the Artificial Intelligence and Decision-making (AI+D) faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). This new shared position is within the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, where he will collaborate with other MIT faculty working at the forefront of computing research and at the nexus of computing and other disciplines.

“It’s terrific that the College has created a mechanism to foster and encourage interdisciplinary research at this interface,” says Coley. “I’m excited to strengthen my connections with EECS and the AI+D faculty and build a more diverse team.”

Coley’s work in computer assistance and automation for organic synthesis has included the development of a data-driven synthesis planning program and in silico strategies for predicting the outcomes of organic reactions. His continuing research interests are in how data science, machine learning, and laboratory automation can be used to streamline discovery in the chemical sciences. He has been named one of C&EN’s “Talented Twelve” and one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” for Healthcare. Coley received his BS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Caltech and MIT, respectively, and did his postdoctoral training at the Broad Institute.

“Two of the main themes of my group’s research are the development of new machine learning techniques tailored to chemical engineering tasks and the formalization of R&D processes for the identification of new molecules, materials, and processes with an emphasis on drug discovery and synthetic chemistry,” Coley explains. “My hope is to create a ‘virtuous cycle’ between computing and chemical engineering.”

Established in 2019, the Schwarzman College of Computing is designed to take MIT’s computing programs to the next level by facilitating the rapid evolution of computing education and research programs, improving collaboration between computing and other disciplines, and advancing the study and practice of social and ethical responsibilities of computing. Coley’s shared position is part of the College’s strategic focus on Computing in Health and Life Sciences. This strategic area aims to hire faculty who help create transformative new computational methods in health and life sciences, while complementing the considerable existing work at MIT by forging additional connections.