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Lee Makowski

Professor and Chair,  Bioengineering
Professor,  Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Affiliated Faculty,  Electrical and Computer Engineering


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  • 617.373.3006

Research Focus

Image and signal processing as applied to biophysical data designed to answer fundamental questions about the molecular basis of living systems


Lee Makowski received his B.S. at Brown University in Physics, and Masters and Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Electrical Engineering. After doing postdoctoral research at Brandeis University in Structural Biology, he joined faculty of the College of Physician and Surgeons at Columbia University in the Biochemistry Department. He moved to Boston University as Professor of Physics and later accepted a position as Director of the Institute of Molecular Biophysics at Florida State University. In 1998 he joined the National Science Foundation where he was a Program Director first in the Biology Directorate and then in the Division of Materials Science. From 2000 until 2010 he was at Argonne National Laboratory, first as Biosciences Division Director and then as Senior Scientist. He moved to Northeastern in the fall of 2010. He is an author of over 100 scientific research papers and numerous review articles on innovative analyses of biophysical data with focus on x-ray and neutron scattering and x-ray imaging.


  • PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1976

Honors & Awards

  • 2017 Dean’s Award for Meritorious Service

Research Overview

Image and signal processing as applied to biophysical data designed to answer fundamental questions about the molecular basis of living systems

Department Research Areas

Selected Publications

  • P.S. Rushton, A.T. Olek, L. Makowski, J. Badger, C.N. Steussy, N.C. Carpita, C.V. Stauffacher, Rice Cellulose SynthaseA8 Plant-Conserved Region is an Anti-Parallel Coiled-Coil Located at the Catalytic Core Entrance, Plant Physiology, 173,  2017, 482-494
  • J. Liu, I. Costantino, N. Venugopalan, R.F. Fischetti, B.T. Hyman, M.P. Frosch, T. Gomez-Isla, L. Makowski, Amyloid Structure Exhibits Polymorphism on Multiple Length Scales in Human Brain Tissue, Science Reports, 6, 2016, 33079
  • J. Badger, P. Grover, S.B. Panjarian, J.R. Engen, T.E. Smithgall,  L. Makowski, The c-Abl Tyrosine Kinase Adopts Multiple Active Conformational States in Solution, 55, Biochemistry, 2016, 3251-3260
  • Y. Zhang, H. Inouye, M. Crowley, L. Yu, D. Kaeli, L. Makowski, Diffraction Pattern Simulation of Cellulose Fibrous Molecules Using Distributed and Quantized Pair-Distances, Journal of Applied Crystallography, 49, 2016, 2244-2248
  • J. Liu, J.I. Kim, J.C. Cusumano, C. Chapple, N. Venugopalan, R.F. Fischetti, L. Makowski, The Impact of Alterations in the Lignin Biosynthetic Pathway on Molecular Architecture of the Plant Cell Wall, Biotechnology For Biofuels, 9, 2016, 126-143
  • H. Inouye, D. Houde, D.B. Temel, L. Makowski, Utility of Solution X-Ray Scattering for the Development of Antibody Biopharmaceuticals, Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, 105, 2016, 3278-3289


Apr 01, 2019

Love of Science Leads to Prestigious Award

Minhal Ahmed, a fifth-year bioengineering student, was named the winner of the Harold D. Hodgkinson Achievement Award for 2019, one of the highest honors a senior can receive.


Dec 05, 2017

Lee Makowski Selected as Fellow of AIMBE

BioE Professor Lee Makowski has been selected as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.


May 03, 2017

Faculty and Staff Awards 2017

Congratulations to all the winners of the faculty and staff awards, and to everyone for their hard work and dedication during the 2016-2017 academic school year. Faculty Fellow Edward Beighley, CEE Yun Raymond Fu, ECE Tommaso Melodia, ECE Rising Star Staff Award Erin Schnepp, Undergraduate Academic Advising Carolina Venegas-Martinez, CEE Outstanding Teachers of First Year […]


Apr 03, 2017

ISEC Grand Opening Marks a New Era of Discovery

The grand opening ceremony for the new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex took place on April 3, 2017.

Sep 21, 2016

Critical Insights for Treating Alzheimer’s

BioE Professor & Chair Lee Makowski is studying Alzheimer's progression to better develop treatments for the disease. Source: News @ Northeastern New research led by Northeastern University suggests that Alzheimer’s disease may not progress like falling dominoes, as conventional wisdom holds, with one molecular event sparking the formation of plaques throughout the brain. Instead, it […]

Aug 26, 2015

Lee Makowski Selected as Chair of BioE

BioE Professor Lee Makowski has been appointed as the inaugural Chair of Bioengineering.


May 11, 2015

Recent ChE Grad Reflects Back on NU Experiences

Recent ChE Alumni Alexander Colville reflects back on his NU career where he helped create the Bioengineering department and Biomedical Engineering Society, participated in an exchange program, and most importantly learned to apply his classroom problem solving skills to real world scenarios.

May 17, 2012

Mapping Protein Shape Shifting

ECE Professors Lee Makowski, Dana Brooks, and Assistant Professor Deniz Erdogmus have been awarded a $657K NSF grant to determine the "Precise Characterization of Conformational Ensembles". NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences. They are tasked with keeping the United States […]


Apr 04, 2012

FY13 TIER 1 Award Recipients

27 COE faculty and affiliates were recipients of FY13 TIER 1 Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grants for 21 different research projects.

Feb 22, 2011

Measuring Interatomic Distances

ECE Professor Lee Makowski has received a $280K NIH grant to develop MADMAX, a Multi-wavelength Anomalous Diffraction using Medium Angle X-ray solution scattering, for the precise measurement of conformational changes in proteins.

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