Professor Sweedler’s research emphasizes both analytical chemistry and the study of cell-cell signaling. The major areas of analytical technology development involve small-volume peptidomics and metabolomics. This includes neuroscience (the discovery of novel neurochemical pathways and new signaling molecules, and their distribution and function in a range of animal models) as well as quorum sensing and other aspects of cell-cell signaling in microbial communities. Sweedler has been at the forefront in advancing small-volume mass spectrometry. He and his collaborators have characterized peptides in the honeybee, planarian, songbird, sea snail, and multiple mammalian species, as well as in individual cells and vesicles, the latter being among the smallest samples ever assayed using mass spectrometry. They discovered and characterized literally hundreds of novel neuroactive peptides, studied the release of several classes of neurotransmitters, and investigated neurotransmitter cotransmission at the single cell and subcellular levels. As a member of large international research teams, Sweedler has performed comprehensive interrogation of the genome, transcriptome, and peptidome in a broad range of animals to uncover the signaling molecules and pathways involved in diverse functions and behaviors. A subset of Sweedler’s research is designed to understand the molecular (chemical) nature of learning and memory.
Professor Sweedler is the Director of the School of Chemical Sciences and holds the James R. Eiszner Family Chair in Chemistry; he is Principal Investigator of the Neuroproteomics & Neurometabolomics Center at Illinois, and is affiliated with the Departments of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and Bioengineering, the Neuroscience program, the Beckman Institute of Science and Technology, the Institute of Genomic Biology, and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. Sweedler has authored or coauthored over 440 peer-reviewed publications, had 15patents issued, and delivered over 585 invited lectures to universities, companies, and at scientific meetings. His scientific contributions have been recognized with numerous awards, including: #1 on the 2019 Top 100 Power List of Analytical Chemists from The Analytical Scientist; Torbern Bergman Medal; Visionary Award from the American Diabetes Association; ANACHEM Award; Malcolm E. Pruitt Award; ACS Analytical Chemistry Award; ACS Ralph N. Adams Award; EAS Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Fields of Analytical Chemistry; Viktor Mutt Prize; Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award; Heinrich-Emanuel Merck Prize; ACS Analytical Instrumentation Award; and Gill Prize. His professional memberships include Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, and Royal Society of Chemistry. Sweedler is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Analytical Chemistry.