Jessie Shelton

Associate Professor


Jessie Shelton

Primary Research Area

  • High Energy Physics
417 Loomis Laboratory


Professor Shelton received her PhD from MIT in 2006, after undergraduate work at Princeton. She held postdoctoral appointments at Rutgers, Yale, and Harvard before arriving at the University of Illinois in 2014. Shelton works on a broad range of topics in particle physics beyond the Standard Model, with particular interests in dark matter and the Higgs boson.

Look up Prof. Shelton's recent work on her InSpire page.

Research Honors

  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Research (2020)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (2019)
  • W. Dale and Jeanne C. Compton Fellow (2019)
  • Fellow, UIUC Center for Advanced Study (2019)
  • DOE Early Career Award (2017)

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

Fall 2018PHYS 496
Fall 2017PHYS 427
Spring 2017PHYS 575
Fall 2015PHYS 212
Spring 2015PHYS 575

Related news

  • Outreach

Physicists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have made significant contributions to our understanding of dark matter, through their work on multiple large-scale collaborative experiments. In the past two years, several new faculty hires at Illinois Physics have added their expertise and insight to the search for this elusive particle. And now a newly founded campus center, the Illinois Center for Advanced Studies of the Universe (ICASU), has taken on dark matter as a main research focus, synergizing efforts and supporting collaboration across scientific disciplines at Illinois and beyond. 

  • Accolades

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Assistant Professors Julia "Jessie" Shelton and Peter Adshead have been named W. Dale and Jeanne C. Compton Fellows in Physics. This faculty appointment supports outstanding research and high scholarly productivity of early-career physicists at Illinois Physics. 

Shelton and Adshead are the department’s inaugural class of Compton Fellows. The faculty will retain the title designation for as long as they hold faculty appointments at Illinois Physics. This named appointment comes with a one-time spending allowance to support ongoing research.

  • Accolades

Physics Professor Julia “Jessie” Shelton of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been awarded the 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the US government on scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Shelton is a theorist whose work spans a broad range of topics in particle physics beyond the standard model. She is especially interested in elucidating the nature of dark matter and in searching for unusual footprints of new physics at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland. Her recent work focuses on possible decays of the Higgs boson to new particles, strategies to detect particles produced at the LHC that travel macroscopic distances before decaying, and the cosmological origin stories of "hidden sector" dark matter, i.e., dark matter that interacts far more strongly with other dark particles than it does with us.

  • In the Media
  • High Energy Physics

Six years after discovering the Higgs boson, physicists have observed how the particle decays — a monumental contribution to scientists' understanding of the Standard Model of particle physics and the universe at large, study researchers said.

Excitement swirled in the physics community when, in 2012, physicists discovered the Higgs boson, an elementary particle predicted by the Standard Model that relates to how objects have mass. But this discovery didn't mark the end of Higgs boson exploration. In addition to predicting the existence of Higgs boson particles, the Standard Model posits that 60 percent of the time, a Higgs boson particle will decay into fundamental particles called bottom quarks (b quarks).