Lee Makowski

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


Social Media


  • 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, and progression of Alzheimer's Disease


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

  • American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers Fellow
  • 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, and progression of Alzheimer's Disease

Selected Research Projects

  • Fibrillar polymorphs in human brain tissue
    • – Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health
  • Cultivating Biomedical Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Ghana
    • – Principal Investigator, Northeastern University
  • Localization of Fibrillar Polymorphs in Human Brain Tissue
    • – Principal Investigator, National Institutes of Health

Selected Publications

  • Nepal, P.,  Bashit, A.A., L. Yang   and L. Makowski (2022). Small-angle x-ray microdiffraction from fibrils embedded in tissue thin sections. (submitted for publication).
  • Bashit, A.A., P. Nepal, T. Connors, D.H. Oakley, B.T. Hyman,L.Yang and L. Makowski (2022) Mapping the spatial distribution of fibrillar polymorphs in human brain tissue. Frontiers in Neuroscience (in press).
  • Liu, J. and L. Makowski (2022) Scanning x-ray microdiffraction:  In situ molecular imaging of tissue and materials. Current Opinion in Structural Biology (in press).
  • Djagbletey, R., Aniteye, E., Darkwa, E.O., Sarpong, P., Aryee, G., Ohene, B.E., Kpodonu, J., Makowski, L. and Smallwood, C.D. (2022) A Simplified Adult Expiratory Support Device: First Clinical Cases in a Low-Resource Setting. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 113(3), pp.1021-1025.
  • Hossain, M.A., Richa Sarin, Daniel P. Donnelly, Brandon C. Miller, Samantha Watson, Jenifer N. Winters, Jeremy B. Conway, Durgalakshmi Sivasankar, Aparna C. Ponmudiyan, Tanvi Gawde, Sunanda Kannapadi, Yunqiu Chen, Jared R. Auclair, Joseph P. Salisbury, Roman Manetsch, Mary Jo Ondrechen, Gregory A. Petsko, Lee Makowski and Jeffrey N. Agar (2022) Protein crosslinking as a therapeutic strategy for SOD1-related ALS BioRxiv.
  • Billiar, K., Donald P. Gaver, Kenneth Barbee, Anita Singh, John D. DesJardins, Beth Pruitt, Joe Tranquillo, Glenn Gaudette, Beth Winkelstein, Lee Makowski, Jenny R. Amos, Ann Saterbak, Joe LeDoux, Brian Helmke, Michele Grimm, Paul Benkeser (2022) Learning Environments and Evidence-Based Practices in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering. 10.1007/s43683-021-00062-z
  • Packer, M.R. J.A. Parker, J.K. Chung, Z. Li, Y.K. Lee,  T. Cookis, H. Guterres, S. Alvarez,  M.A. Hossain, D.P. Donnelly, J.N. Agar, L. Makowski, M. Buck, J.T. Groves, and C. Mattos. (2021) Raf promotes dimerization of the Ras G-domain with increased allosteric connections. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118 (10).
  • Makowski, Lee, Olson-Sidford, William, W. Weisel, John (2021). Biological and Clinical Consequences of Integrin Binding via a Rogue RGD Motif in the SARS CoV-2 Spike Protein. Viruses, 13(2),146. 10.3390/V13020146
  • Huang, Lei, Wright, Michelle, Yang, Sichun, Blachowicz, Lydia, Makowski, Lee, Roux, Benoît (2020). Glycine substitution in SH3-SH2 connector of Hck tyrosine kinase causes population shift from assembled to disassembled state. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta – General Subjects, 1864(7),129604. 10.1016/J.BBAGEN.2020.129604
  • Makowski, Lee (2020). The Structural Basis of Amyloid Strains in Alzheimer’s Disease. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 6(5),2498-2505. 10.1021/ACSBIOMATERIALS.9B01302
  • Ngu, Lisa, Winters, Jenifer N., Makowski, Lee, Beuning, Penny J., Ondrechen, Mary Jo (2020). Distal Residues and Enzyme Activity: Implications for Personalized Medicine. Biophysical Journal, 118(3),535a-536a. 10.1016/J.BPJ.2019.11.2937
  • Ngu, Lisa, Winters, Jenifer N., Nguyen, Kien, Ramos, Kevin E., DeLateur, Nicholas A., Makowski, Lee, Whitford, Paul C., Ondrechen, Mary Jo, Beuning, Penny J. (2020). Probing remote residues important for catalysis in Escherichia coli ornithine transcarbamoylase. PLoS ONE, 15(2),e0228487. 10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0228487
  • B. Roig-Solvas, D.H, Brooks, L. Makowski, FiXR: A Framework to Reconstruct Fiber Cross- Sections from X-Ray Fiber Diffraction Experiments, Acta Crystallographica, 2020, D76
  • B. Roig-Solvas, B.T. Hyman, L. Makowski, In Situ Saxs of Protein Deposits in Alzheimer’s Disease, bioRxiv, 2019
  • L. Makowski, The Structural Basis of Amyloid Strains in Alzheimer’s Disease, ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering, 2019
  • H. Zhou, H. Guterres, C. Mattos, L. Makowski Predicting X‐Ray Solution Scattering from Flexible Macromolecules, Protein Science, 27, 2018, 2023-2036
  • B. Roig-Solvas, L. Makowski, Calculation of the Cross-Sectional Shape of a Fibril from Equatorial Scattering, Journal of Structural Biology 200(3), 2017, 248-257


Feb 01, 2024

Celebrating Bioengineering at Northeastern: Visions for the Future

The Department of Bioengineering hosted a 10 year anniversary celebration to commemorate what the department has accomplished and showcase its plans for the future.

Student Groups

Jan 09, 2024

Creating an Engineering Club from an Idea

Isabela Castillo, E’25, bioengineering, came to Northeastern University with an idea to create prosthetic hands and led to her starting Give a Hand, a club developing low-cost, 3D-printed prosthetic hands.

In the Media

Oct 05, 2023

Global warming: Act to Stop World Becoming Uninhabitable – Okyenhene Entreats World Leaders

Bioengineering Professor and Chair Lee Makowski was recently featured in the Ghanaian magazine Graphic Online, in an article titled “Global warming: Act to stop world becoming uninhabitable – Okyenhene entreats world leaders.” The article discusses the Okyanhene (the King of Akyem Abuakwa, from the Eastern Region of Ghana), Osaguefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin’s visit to Northeastern University […]

Lee Makowski


Aug 22, 2023

Understanding the Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Alzheimer’s Disease

BioE Chair and Professor Lee Makowski, in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital, received a $2.1M NIH for “Fibrillar Polymorphs in Human Brain Tissue.” The research will use x-ray scanning microscopy to observe changes in the molecular structure of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles during disease with the goal of better understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the disease.


Jan 24, 2023

Faculty and Staff Awards 2023

Congratulations to all the winners of the faculty and staff awards, and to everyone for their hard work and dedication during the 2022-2023 academic school year. COE Distinguished Faculty Award Yun Raymond Fu, ECE Auroop Ganguly, CEE Luke Landherr, ChE Sinan Müftü, MIE Mark Niedre, BioE Alison Nogueira, Co-op Nian Sun, ECE Constantinos Mavroidis Translational […]

In the Media

Dec 14, 2022

Doctors, Biomedical Engineers Assess Abuakwa South Health Delivery

BioE Chair Lee Makowski was featured in the BusinessGhana article “Doctors, biomedical engineers assess Abuakwa South health delivery.”


Dec 14, 2022

Ghana Biomedical Innovation Summit

The first week of December 2022, the Northeastern University Department of Bioengineering in partnership with the non-profit 4GBI sponsored two Bioinnovation events in Ghana.  On December 6, the Ghana Bioinnovation Workshop was held at the Kibi Presbyterian College of Education in Kyebi, Ghana.  On December 8, The Ghana Bioinnovation Symposium was held at the AH […]


Dec 14, 2022

Bioengineering an Impact with ‘Give a Hand’

Isabela Castillo, an undergraduate bioengineering student, started the Give a Hand club on campus, which develops prosthetic hands for those in need and works in collaboration with Enabling the Future, a global network of volunteers making medical devices.

abstract photo of women doctor pointing to tablet with medical imagery around it


May 11, 2021

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Human beings are some of the most complex systems in the world, and responses to illness, disease, and impairments manifest in countless different ways. When it comes to making sure that your system stays up and running, healthcare professionals typically have their own deep well of knowledge—but the addition of artificial intelligence tools offers unprecedented […]

holding model of the COVID virus


Feb 08, 2021

Blood Related Complications Due to COVID-19

BioE Chair and Professor Lee Makowski is researching if there is a connection between a spike protein in COVID-19 and blood-related complications from the disease. COVID-19 can affect the blood. Its spike protein may be the culprit. Main Photo: Lee Makowski, chair of the bioengineering department, holds a 3D printed model of COVID-19 showing spike […]

View All Related News