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Ben Owen

Director, Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center (IMSERC), Research Associate Professor

PhD: Purdue


Serving as the Director for the Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center (IMSERC), Ben manages the operations, directs the strategic vision, as well as the technical and assay capabilities of the Chemistry Department’s primary, combined analytical instrumentation core facility. IMSERC’s mission is to further research at Northwestern by providing access to and educating students on the proper use of analytical instrumentation needed for molecular structure, materials, and biological sample characterization. IMSERC consists of 6 traditionally separate subject area cores: Mass Spectrometry Core (MS), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy Core, X-ray Crystallography Core, Clinical and Pharmacology Core (CPC), and Laser and Electronics Design (NU-LED) Core. IMSERC is a two-floor facility existing as a completely centralized core (instrumentation, staff, teaching labs etc.) housed on the Ground and 1st floors of the B-wing in the Technological Institute building. In addition to his role as the Director of IMSERC, Ben is the Director of the Mass Spectrometry and Clinical and Pharmacology Cores within IMSERC.

Prior to joining Northwestern in 2019, Ben served as a Mass Spectrometry (MS) Product Specialist in the Chicago metro area and, before that, as an MS Field Applications Scientist in the Boston metro area, both positions held at Agilent Technologies, Inc. In these previous roles, Ben was tasked with helping Agilent’s mass spectrometry customers throughout their lifecycle of ownership in selecting the appropriate instrumentation, performing sample analysis demonstration, developing methods, providing training on instrument/software use and application development, as well as maintaining and performing instrument repair. His primary areas of expertise developed during these roles were in clinical research, metabolomics, protein analysis, and extractable and leachable product impurity analysis.

Ben holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Analytical Chemistry (2012) from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, gained under the mentorship of Prof. Hilkka Kenttämaa. While at Purdue, he focused on mass spectrometry instrumentation and method development for the analysis of lignocellulosic biomass metabolism and degradation for biofuel production. His undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry earned from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2008.

Ben and his family have settled in the city of Chicago in the northside neighborhood of Andersonville.