Stephen Bradforth

Senior Advisor to the Dean for Research Strategy and Development

Professor of Chemistry

(213) 740-0461


As senior advisor to the dean for research strategy and development, Professor of Chemistry Stephen Bradforth oversees large collaborative projects, such as those in the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Biosciences, and cultivates new research opportunities at USC Dornsife. Working with divisional deans, he develops and steers proposals for large-center grants; leads faculty-led research initiatives; forges new partnerships with industry, institutions and other USC schools; and shepherds development of new general-use research buildings and equipment. He also works with USC Dornsife Advancement to pursue funding for large research opportunities and shares oversight for research grant strategy with USC Dornsife research administration.

Before serving in his current role, Bradforth was the divisional dean for the physical sciences and mathematics, coordinating strategic planning, faculty appointments and research advancement within the USC Dornsife Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Bradforth joined the Department of Chemistry in 1996 and has held numerous leadership positions within the department, including head of the physical and theoretical chemistry section, vice chair and chair. From 2017–20, he served as USC Dornsife’s divisional dean for the natural sciences and mathematics. He is active in national efforts, spearheaded by the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement and the Association of American Universities, to reform undergraduate STEM education in research-intensive universities.

As a physical chemist, Bradforth’s lab designs experiments to gain a deeper understanding of how the interconnected motions of molecules impact chemical reactions in complex but frequently encountered environments such as the aqueous milieu of cells or in functional molecular materials. His research applies ultrafast laser techniques to address contemporary scientific challenges that span multiple fields.

Bradforth’s honors include a Dreyfus New Faculty award and a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering. He is a Cottrell Scholar of the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement, receiving the organization’s STAR award in 2019. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. At USC, he has been recognized with the Raubenheimer junior faculty award as well as the USC Mellon Mentoring award for mentoring faculty.

Photo of Stephen Bradforth