Skip to main content

Core Faculty

Daniel Abrams (Co-Director)

Professor of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Phone: 847-491-5346

Professor Abram's lab, the MMCS lab is focused on the study of complex systems—where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  They use the tools of nonlinear dynamics to create and analyze tractable mathematical models for a wide range of phenomena.  The goal is to gain and share insight into the world through the application of mathematics.

Daniel Abrams Named NICO Codirector - McCormick Engineering News

Brian Uzzi (Co-Director)

Richard L. Thomas Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change
Professor of Sociology
Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Science
Kellogg School of Management

Phone: 847-491-8072

Professor Uzzi's research uses social network science and computational methods to explain outstanding human achievement.

Luis Amaral

Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering
Professor of Physics & Astronomy
Professor of Medicine
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
NICO Co-Director, 2013-2023

Phone: 847-491-7850

Professor Amaral conducts and directs research that provides insight into the emergence, evolution, and stability of complex social and biological systems. His research aims to address some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, including the mitigation of errors in healthcare settings, the characterization of the conditions fostering innovation and creativity, or the growth limits imposed by sustainability.

Katherine Amato

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 847-467-5890

Professor Amato is a biological anthropologist studying the gut microbiota in the broad context of host ecology and evolution. She is particularly interested in understanding how changes in the gut microbiota impact human nutrition and health in populations around the world, especially those with limited access to nutritional resources.

Erik Andersen

Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 847-467-4382

The Andersen laboratory uses quantitative and molecular genetics to understand the polymorphisms that underlie multigenic traits of medical, ecological, and evolutionary importance.

Michelle Birkett

Assistant Professor, Medical Social Sciences
Director, CONNECT Research Program
Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing
Feinberg School of Medicine

Phone: 312-503-3303

Professor Birkett's research interests include: social and contextual drivers of health disparities; social marginalization; HIV; network analysis; methods for social and contextual data capture; and transdisciplinary collaborations.

Sirus Bouchat

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 847-467-2063

Professor Bouchat's research interests are in computational social science, at the intersection of political methodology and comparative politics. Their methodological work is motivated by the challenges of small-n and manipulated data in authoritarian regimes, and in particular is informed by substantive expertise in Myanmar and regional focus on Southeast Asia. Professor Bouchat utilizes text-as-data and Bayesian approaches to reconcile information from both qualitative and quantitative data.

Rosemary Braun

Associate Professor, Molecular Biosciences
Associate Professor, Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics (courtesy)
Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy (courtesy)
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 312-503-3644

Professor Braun is a computational biologist with an interest in the development of methods for integrative, systems-level analysis of high-dimensional ("big") *omic data. These methods incorporate bioinformatic information with experimental data to characterize the networks of interactions that lead to the emergence of complex phenotypes, particularly cancers.

Fabián Bustamante

Professor of Computer Science, Department of Computer Science
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Phone: 847-491-2745

Professor Bustamante is interested in large-scale, longitudinal experimental research on computer networks and distributed systems.

Bruce Carruthers

John D. MacArthur Chair and Professor of Sociology
Director, Buffett Institute for Global Studies
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 847-467-1251

Professor Carruthers' research interests include: comparative sociology; economy and society; the sociology of law; and the sociology of organizations.

Jeannette Colyvas

Associate Professor, Human Development and Social Policy
Associate Professor, Learning Sciences
School of Education & Social Policy

Phone: 847-467-5020

Professor Colyvas' research interests include: organizations and entrepreneurship; institutions and networks; comparing public, private, and non-profit forms of organizing; university-industry interfaces; and public and private science.

Noshir Contractor

Jane S. and William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences
Director, Science of Networks in Communities Research Group (SONIC)
School of Communication

Phone: 847-491-3669

Professor Contractor investigates factors that lead to the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of dynamically linked social and knowledge networks in a wide variety of contexts including communities of practice in business, translational science and engineering communities, public health networks and virtual worlds.

Leslie DeChurch

Professor, Department of Communication Studies
School of Communication

Leslie DeChurch’s research investigates teamwork and leadership in organizations. Professor DeChurch leads the ATLAS Lab, which explores the dynamics through which teams form, and how these dynamics affect their performance as teams, and their ability to work as larger organizational systems (multiteam systems).

Michelle Driscoll

Assistant Professor, Dept of Physics and Astronomy
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 847-467-6708

Professor Driscoll is a soft condensed matter experimentalist, and her research lies at the junction between soft-matter physics and fluid dynamics. The Driscoll lab focuses on understanding how structure and patterns emerge in a driven system, and how to use this structure formation as a new way to probe nonequillibrium systems.

Steve Franconeri

Professor, Department of Psychology
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 847-467-1259

Professor Franconeri studies visual thinking and communication: how it works, and how we can make it work better. At his Visual Thinking Laboratory, a team of researchers explore how leveraging the visual system - the largest single system in your brain - can help people think, remember, and communicate more efficiently.

Randy Freeman

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Phone: 847-467-2606

Professor Freeman's research interests include: nonlinear control theory; robust control, optimal control; nonlinear system theory; and control and estimation for multi-agent systems.

Jaline Gerardin

Assistant Professor, Preventive Medicine
Feinberg School of Medicine

Phone: 312-908-7914

Professor Gerardin's research focuses on mathematical modeling of malaria transmission and interventions to help guide global policy to reduce burden and eradicate malaria.

Matthew Groh

Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations
Kellogg School of Management

Professor Groh's research examines the dynamics of human-AI collaboration, algorithmic bias, and digitally mediated empathy.

Seyed Iravani

Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Phone: 847-491-5538

Professor Iravani's research interests include the applications of stochastic processes and queuing theory in the design and control of manufacturing, service operations and health care systems and supply chains.

Benjamin Jones

Gordon and Llura Gund Family Professor of Entrepreneurship
Associate Dean for Innovation and Impact
Kellogg School of Management

Phone: 847-491-3177

Professor Jones' research focuses largely on innovation and creativity, with recent work investigating the role of teamwork in innovation and the relationship between age and invention.

William Kath

Professor of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Phone: 847-491-3345

Professor Kath's research interests include: computational neuroscience, action potential propagation and dendritic integration in neurons; predictive modeling of cancer and epigenetic networks; optical fibers and waveguides, polarization mode dispersion, importance sampling and rare event simulation in lightwave systems, optical solitons, parametric optical amplifiers, linear and nonlinear wave propagation; and nonlinear dynamics, asymptotic and singular perturbation methods.

István Kovács

Assistant Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 847-491-8640

Professor Kovács is working on bridging the gap between structure and function in complex systems. His group is developing novel methodologies to predict the emerging structural and functional patterns in a broad spectrum of problems ranging from systems biology to quantum physics, in close collaboration with experimental groups.

Kevin Lynch

Professor, Mechanical Engineering
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Phone: 847-467-5451

Robotics, mechanics, planning, and control of robotic manipulation; self-organized systems, particularly decentralized control of mobile sensor networks; motion planning and control for underactuated dynamic systems; physical human/robot interaction, industrial applications.

Malcolm MacIver

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Professor of Neurobiology (by Courtesy)
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Phone: 847-491-3540

Professor MacIver believes that the body’s mechanical intelligence can be just as important, if not more important, than what’s going on in your head. His primary scientific efforts are in understanding how animal mechanics and sensory abilities fit together, and he pursues that problem using approaches from neuroscience, animal behavior studies, robotics, mathematical modeling, and computer simulations. In engineering, he has pioneered the development of a new sensor inspired by the ability of certain fish to sense using a self-generated electric field, and highly maneuverable propulsion systems based on fish locomotion.

Adilson Motter

Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 847-491-4611

Professor Motter's research is focused on the dynamical behavior of complex systems and complex networks. In particular, in recent work Motter and his collaborators have established conditions for the synchronization of power grids and other complex networks, have developed the concept of synthetic rescue in network biology, have designed the first class of metamaterials that exhibit longitudinal negative compressibility, have developed methods for the control the nonlinear dynamics of complex networks, including cascade failures in distributed systems, and have investigated implications of these methods for the recovery of lost function in biological, ecological, and physical networks.

Milan Mrksich

Henry Wade Rogers Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry and Cell and Molecular Biology
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Phone: 847-467-0472

The Mrksich Group uses the tools of organic chemistry, materials science and biochemistry to develop new approaches to studying and controlling molecular function.

Todd Murphey

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Phone: 847-467-1041

Professor Murphey's research focuses on computational methods in dynamics and control. The group focuses on computational models of embedded control, biomechanical simulation, dynamic exploration, and hybrid control. Much of the work uses structured integration (numerical techniques specifically suited to mechanical systems) to ensure stability and robustness of the numerical technique.

Julio Ottino

Dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
Distinguished Robert R. McCormick Institute Professor Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Phone: 847-491-5220

Dean Ottino’s experimental and theoretical work unveiled the connection between chaos and mixing of fluids and opened multiple connections.

Andrew V. Papachristos

Professor of Sociology
Director, Northwestern Network and Neighborhood Initiative

Phone: (847) 467-1250

Professor Papachristos aims to understand how the connected nature of cities—how their citizens, neighborhoods, and institutions are tied to one another—affect what we feel, think, and do. His main research applies network science to the study of gun violence, police misconduct, illegal gun markets, Al Capone, street gangs, and urban neighborhoods.

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Director and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research
Margaret Walker Alexander Professor of Human Development and Social Policy
School of Education & Social Policy

Phone: (847) 491-3884

Professor Schanzenbach studies policies aimed at improving the lives of children in poverty, including education, health, and income support policies. Her recent work has focused on tracing the impact of major public policies such as SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program) and early childhood education on children’s long-term outcomes. 

Igal Szleifer

Christina Enroth-Cugell Professor of Biomedical Engineering
McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Professor Szleifer's work is aimed at the fundamental understanding of the properties of complex molecular systems that encompass problems at the interface between medicine, biology, chemistry, physics and materials science.

Suzan van der Lee

Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Phone: 847-491-8183

Suzan van der Lee is a seismologist and a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Northwestern University.

Dashun Wang

Associate Professor of Management & Organizations
Kellogg School of Management

Phone: 847-491-8070

Professor Wang leads a group of highly interdisciplinary researchers who are extremely passionate about data. His research takes a multidisciplinary approach - combining computational social science, statistical physics, and computer science - to exploit the opportunities and promises offered by Big Data. 

Uri Wilensky

Lorraine H. Morton Professor of Learning Sciences and Computer Science
School of Education and Social Policy
McCormick School of Engineering

Phone: 847-467-7593

Uri Wilensky is a mathematician, educator, learning technologist and computer scientist. He is involved in designing, deploying and researching learning technologies, especially for mathematics and science education. Much of his work of late has focused on the design of computer-based modeling and simulation languages, including networked collaborative simulations. He is very interested in the changing content of curriculum in the context of ubiquitous computation. A particular interest is in complexity and systems thinking.

Hyejin Youn

Assistant Professor of Management & Organizations
Kellogg School of Management

Professor Youn's research interests are in Innovation and technological change, urban scaling and dynamics, historical and computational linguistics, transportation network, and network theory.

Florian Zettelmeyer

Nancy L. Ertle Professor of Marketing
Director, Program on Data Analytics at Kellogg
Kellogg School of Management

Professor Zettelmeyer specializes in evaluating the effects of information technology and big data on firms. More generally, his work addresses how the information consumers have about firms and the information firms have about consumers affect firm behavior.

Haoqi Zhang

Associate Professor of Computer Science
McCormick School of Engineering
Director, DTR; Co-Director, DELTA LAB

Professor Zhang's work advances the design of integrated socio-technical models that solve complex problems and advance human values at scale. His research bridges the fields of Human-Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence, Social & Crowd Computing, Learning Science, and Decision Science.

In Memoriam

Edward (Ned) Smith

Associate Professor of Management & Organizations
Kellogg School of Management

In Memoriam: Professor Ned Smith, 1981-2021.

As a researcher, Ned Smith deeply cared about how social networks form and the impact that biases have on individuals and society. His pioneering work showed that social networks, once thought to be based solely in social interactions, can have influential cognitive and psychological determinants. His insights inspired new research in a growing, cross-disciplinary area.

Back to top