Courtney Pfluger

Associate Teaching Professor,  Chemical Engineering


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  • 219 Cullinane
  • 617.373.8018

Research Focus

Engineering education with a focus on technology enhancing pedagogues; Globalization in the classroom and international educational experiences; Sustainable energy and clean water technologies.


Dr. Courtney Pfluger received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University in 2004. She then went to work in the Biotechnology Industry, where she worked on Protein Purification at Sanofi and on process development of recombinant proteins from mammalian cell cultures at Ipsen-Biomeasure. In 2006, Dr. Pfluger pursued a PhD in Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University focused on polymer thin films to create biomimetic scaffolds of small intestine. Completing her PhD in 2011, she began as an Assistant Teaching Professor in First-year Engineering Program at Northeastern where she redesigned the curriculum and developed courses with sustainability and clean water themes. In 2017, she moved to Chemical Engineering Department where she has taught core courses and redesigned the Capstone design course. She has also developed and ran 8 Faculty-led Dialogue of Civilization programs to Brazil focused on Sustainable Energy. She has won several teaching awards including Residential Life Faculty Member of the Year Award, Chemical Engineering Sioui Award for Excellence in Teaching, and College of Engineering Essigmann Outstanding Teaching Award.


  • B.S. (Chemical Engineering) Northeastern University, 2004
  • Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering) Northeastern University, 2011

Research Overview

Engineering education with a focus on technology enhancing pedagogues; Globalization in the classroom and international educational experiences; Sustainable energy and clean water technologies.

Selected Publications

  • Pfluger, C., Martínez, D. L.; Implementing Industrial Engineering statistical tools to enhance students’ understanding of heat transfer for a Chemical Engineering Unit Operations Laboratory module on heat exchangers, American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, 2020
  • C. Pfluger, R. Koppes, L. Landherr; The River Project: an Open-Ended Engineering Design Challenge from Bench-Scale to Pilot-Scale, American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, 2017
  • A.N. Koppes, M. Kamath, C.A. Pfluger, D.D. Burkey, M. Dokmeci, L. Wang, R.L. Carrier; Complex, Multi-Scale Small Intestinal Topography Replicated in Cellular Growth Substrates Fabricated via Chemical Vapor Deposition of Parylene C, Biofabrication, 8(3), 2016, 035011
  • S. Freeman, D. Goldthwaite, J. Hertz, B.K. Jaeger-Helton, J. Love, B. Maheswaran, C. Pfluger, K. Schulte-Graham, M. Sivak, C. Variawa, R. Whalen; Cranking Up Cornerstone: Lesson Learned from Implementing a Pilot with First-Year Engineering Students, American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 2016
  • C. Pfluger; Maximizing the Global Experience: Lessons Learned from Running a Month Long Faculty-Led Program to Brazil, American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, 2015
  • S. Freeman, D. Goldthwaite, B.K. Jaeger-Helton, C. Pfluger, K. Schulte-Graham, R. Whalen; First-Year Student Assumptions on Diversity in Engineering Education, American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, 2015
  • C. Pfluger, K. Schulte-Graham; Introducing Sustainability into Engineering Design: A First-Year Course, American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, IN, 2014
  • B. McMahon, C.A. Pfluger, B. Sun, K. Ziemer, D. Burkey, R. Carrier; Photoinitiated Chemical Vapor Deposition Of Cytocompatible Poly(2-Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate) Films, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 201(7), 2014
  • Pfluger, C. A., McMahon, B., Carrier R.L., and Burkey D.D.; Precise, Biomimetic Replication of the Multiscale Structure of Intestinal Basement Membrane Using Chemical Vapor Deposition, Tissue Engineering Part A 19(5-6), pg. 649-656, 2013
  • Pfluger, C. A., Burkey D.D., Wang L., Sun B., Ziemer K.S., and Carrier R.L; Biocompatibility of plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposited poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) films for biomimetic replication of the intestinal basement membrane. Biomacromolecules 11, pg. 1579-1584, 2010
  • Pfluger, C., Carrier, R., Sun, B., Ziemer, K. and Burkey, D; Cross-Linking and Degradation Properties of Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposited Poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate). Macromolecular Rapid Communications 30, pg. 126-132, 2009
chemical engineering students in lab posing for photo

Student Groups

Dec 01, 2020

Chemical Engineering Students Compete in National AIChE ChemE Car Competition

At the national American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) virtual conference in November, the Northeastern student chapter took part in the ChemE Car competition by developing a car that runs on a chemical reaction that must carry a certain weight, and travel a specific distance. 


Sep 10, 2020

Faculty and Staff Awards 2020

Congratulations to all the winners of the faculty and staff awards, and to everyone for their hard work and dedication during the 2019-2020 academic school year.


Jul 01, 2020

COE Presents at the 2020 ASEE’S Virtual Conference

College of Engineering faculty, staff, and students, published and presented virtual papers at the American Society for Engineering Education – Virtual National conference.

Student Groups

Nov 15, 2019

AIChE Members Attend National Conference and Place 14th in Chem-E-Car Competition

Twenty-one chemical engineering students attended the AIChE National Conference in Orlando, Florida, along with a number of their professors.

Student Groups

Mar 31, 2019

ChemE Car Places Second at Regional Conference; Advances to Nationals in Orlando

The Northeastern ChemE Car team placed second at the annual Eckhardt Northeast Regional AIChE Conference at UMass Amherst which qualifies them to compete at the AIChE National Conference this fall in Orlando.


Mar 26, 2019

ChE Outstanding TA Award

ChE PhD student Ehsan Keyvani-Someh received the NU Graduate Education Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Teaching. Ehsan has done great work assisting ChE Teaching Professor Courtney Plfuger. The picture attached is of Ehsan with his students as he says he "owes this nomination to them". Congratulations Ehsan!


Jun 14, 2018

Summer ChE Trip

ChE Assistant Teaching Professor Courtney Pfluger traveled to Brazil with 22 students for a Dialogue of Civilizations in Summer 1. The focus of this Dialogue was on Sustainable Energy and how Brazil has been able to supply over 80% of its electrical grid with sustainable sources and technologies. We met with Brazilian companies and political […]


Aug 06, 2017

ChE Professors Receive Awards at ASEE Summer School Conference

ChE's Adam Ekenseair, Lucas Landherr, and Courtney Pfluger all were honored for their poster sessions during the American Society of Engineering Education Chemical Engineering Division Summer School.

group looking at two students with red container on table working together


Nov 24, 2014

Battle Tops Competition

Many of the First Year Engineering class sections have been gearing up to compete with their 3D Printed Battle Tops. Students in Dr. Variawa, Dr. Pfluger, Dr. Goldthwaite and Dr. Whalen’s classes were involved in the competition, which took place Monday, November 24th, in a classroom in the basement of Snell Library. The students were split up into teams, […]

3D printer

Nov 20, 2014

3D Printed Battle Tops

Professor Chirag Variawa’s First Year Engineering class has been hard at work lately, preparing their final software-design project. The assignment involves creating 3D-printed spinning tops with varied designs, which will be battled against each other on Monday, November 24th. The creations include all kinds of interesting features, such as different centers of gravity or curved edges. The […]

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