Luís Amaral

Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor, Medicine; HHMI Early Career Scientist, Northwestern University


Professor Amaral, a native of Portugal, 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 human societies and the world’s ecosystems, including the mitigation of errors in healthcare settings, the characterization of the conditions fostering innovation and creativity, or the growth limits imposed by sustainability.

Recently, Amaral proposed the development of cartographic methods for the representation of complex biological networks. These methods will enable researchers to accomplish something similar to what travelers now can easily accomplish with, for example, Google Maps, that is, to glean the important information on a given system at the scale of interest to the researcher. These tools hold the promise to enable biomedical researcher to design or re-engineer biological systems for therapeutic purposes.

Professor Amaral has published over a hundred scientific peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals. Those papers have been cited in excess of 7 thousand times; ten having accumulated more than 200 citations each. His research has been featured in numerous media sources, both in the US and abroad. Professor Amaral has received a CAREER award from the National Institutes of Health in 2003, was named to the 2006 class of Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research by the W. M. Keck Foundation, and has been selected as an Earlier Career Scientist by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Current Projects

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