Lee Makowski

Professor and Chair,  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

  • 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

  • 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
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 […]

Lee Makowski


Jan 27, 2021

Understanding the Most Dangerous Aspects of COVID-19

BioE Professor and Chair Lee Makowski published a perspective article in the journal Virus titled, “Biological and Clinical Consequences of Integrin Binding via a Rogue RGD Motif in the SARS CoV-2 Spike Protein,” which explains the most dangerous aspects of COVID-19.

photo of innovative respiratory device


Jun 25, 2020

Bioengineers Develop Innovative Respiratory-Assist Device as Alternative to Ventilator

BioE alumnus Craig Smallwood, PhD’18, invented a respiratory-assist device as an alternative to a ventilator for low-resource environments. BioE Professor and Chair Lee Makowski, in collaboration with physicians at Korle Bu Hospital in Ghana, has made the first few of these devices available for use on patients suffering from respiratory distress.

photo of Kritika Singh


Jun 11, 2020

Distinctive Excellence: Our 2020 Rhodes Scholar

Kritika Singh, E’20, receives Rhodes Scholar, NIH OxCam Scholar, and Harold D. Hodgkinson Achievement Award.


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 […]

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