Sharon Hammes-Schiffer received her BA in Chemistry from Princeton University in 1988 and her PhD in Chemistry from Stanford University in 1993, followed by two years at AT&T Bell Laboratories. She was the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame from 1995–2000 and then became the Eberly Professor of Biotechnology at The Pennsylvania State University until 2012, when she became the Swanlund Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Since 2018, she has been the John Gamble Kirkwood Professor of Chemistry at Yale University.
Her research centres on the investigation of charge transfer reactions, proton-coupled electron transfer, nonadiabatic dynamics, and quantum mechanical effects in chemical, biological, and interfacial processes. Her work encompasses the development of analytical theories and computational methods, as well as applications to experimentally relevant systems.
She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Biophysical Society. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science. She was the Deputy Editor of The Journal of Physical Chemistry B and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Chemical Reviews. She is on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science and has served as Chair of the Physical Division and the Theoretical Subdivision of the American Chemical Society. She has over 275 publications, is co-author of a textbook entitled Physical Chemistry for the Biological Sciences, and has given more than 410 invited lectures, including 24 named lectureships.