Mallouk arrived at Penn State in 1993 after a distinguished career at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1998, he was named the DuPont Professor of Materials Chemistry and also was named a professor of physics in 2004. In 2010, he was named an Evan Pugh professor, the highest distinction that Penn State can bestow upon a faculty member.
He is one of the pioneers in research on the self-assembly of inorganic molecules, a solid-state chemist who is highly regarded for his research in applying inorganic materials to a broad range of problems in chemistry. His work has been recognized with numerous national awards and he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds a number of patents for innovations that resulted from his research and is the author or co-author of more than 300 research publications.
He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Brown University in 1977 and a doctoral degree in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1983.