Luís A. Nunes Amaral

HHMI Early Career Scientist
Professor of Chemical & Biological Eng.
Professor of Medicine

Chemical & Biological Engineering
2145 Sheridan Road (Room E136)
EvanstonIL 60208US
Phone: (847) 491-7850


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 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 150 scientific peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals. Those papers have been cited in excess of 13 thousand times. 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, was named a Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research by the W. M. Keck Foundation, and has been selected as an Early Career Scientist by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


  • Ph. D. Physics (Advisor: H. Eugene Stanley), Boston University (1996)
  • M. Sc. Physics (Advisor: B. J. Costa Cabral), Universidade de Lisboa (1992)
  • B. Sc. Physics, Universidade de Lisboa (1990)


  • Associate Professor, McCormick, Northwestern University (2002-2009)
  • Research Associate, Boston University and Harvard Medical School (2000-2002)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Boston University and Harvard Medical School (1999-2000)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1997-1998)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany (1995-1996)
  • Professor, McCormick, Northwestern University (2009-2029)
  • Associate Professor, Feinberg, Northwestern University (2009-2011)
  • Early Career Scientist, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2009-2015)
  • Professor, Feinberg, Northwestern University (2011-2015)
  • Professor, Weinberg, Northwestern University (2014-2015)

Awards and Honors

  • Invited speaker at German-American Frontiers of Science Symposium, National Academy of Sciences and Humboldt Foundation (2005)
  • Organizer, 11th Annual Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, National Academy of Engineering (2005)
  • Invited participant in 10th Annual Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, National Academy of Engineering (2004)
  • K-25 Career Award, NIGMS/NIH (2004)
  • Invited participant in 9th Annual Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, National Academy of Engineering (2003)
  • Searle Leadership Fund Award, Northwestern University (2002)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship (2 years), Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal (1997)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship (15 months), DFG, Germany (1995)
  • Pre-doctoral Fellowship (3 years), JNICT, Portugal (1992)
  • Pre-doctoral Masters Fellowship (2 years), JNICT, Portugal (1990)
  • Scholarship (10 years), Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Portugal (1981)
  • Early Career Scientist, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2009)
  • Invited Participant in NAE Japan-American Frontiers of Engineerium Symposium, National Academy of Engineering (2009)
  • Distinguished Young Scholar in Medical Research, W. M. Keck Foundation (2006)
  • Invited Participant, NA-Keck Futures Initiative on Complex Systems, National Academies and W. M. Keck Foundation (2008)
  • Invited Participant on Workshop on Transformative Research, National Science Board (2005)
  • Member of Advisory Board on "Complex Systems", James S. McDonnell Foundation (2009)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012)

Selected Communications

  • DPG Annual Meeting Berlin, Germany (Mar 2005)
  • Workshop on Regime Changes EPA, Cincinnati, OH, US (Mar 2005)
  • COSIN Final Meeting (Opening Speaker) Salou , Spain (Mar 2005)
  • Network Robustness Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM, US (Jan 2005)
  • IV International Forum for Portuguese Researchers Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra (Jul 2004)
  • American Physical Society April Meeting(Symposium Speaker) Denver, CO, US (May 2004)
  • Joint SFI-University of Michigan Workshop University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Nov 2003)
  • COSIN MidTerm Conference Rome, Italy (Sep 2003)
  • Frontiers of Science '03 Universita degli Studi, Pavia, Italy (Sep 2003)
  • BioComplexity V: Multiscale Modeling in Biology University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN, US (Aug 2003)
  • MedMath 2003 Symposium IIMS, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada (May 2003)
  • Symposium on Complex Networks Center for BioDynamics, Boston University, Boston, US (Dec 2002)
  • APS March Meeting (Symposium Speaker) Indianapolis, IN, US (Mar 2002)
  • 11th International Summer School University of Jyvaskyla, Finland (Aug 2001)
  • NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Application of Physics in Economic Modelling Prague, Czech Republic (Feb 2001)
  • International Symposium on Empirical on Science of Financial Fluctuations Nihon Keizai Shimbun Tokyo, Japan (Nov 2000)
  • 6th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators Leiden, Netherlands (May 2000)
  • APS March Meeting (Symposium Speaker) Minneapolis, MN, US (Mar 2000)
  • International Workshop on Non-equilibrium Dynamical Systems Porto, Portugal (Jun 1999)
  • International Workshop on Dynamics of Non-equilibrium System ICTP, Trieste, Italy (Aug 1996)
  • Purdue University Dept. Chemical Engineering, US (Feb 2005)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology Dept. Chemical and Environmental Engineering, US (Nov 2004)
  • University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Dept. Chemical Engineering, US (Nov 2003)
  • University of California at Davis Institute of Theoretical Dynamics, US (May 2002)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Dept. Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, US (Apr 2002)
  • Northwestern University Dept. Chemical Engineering, US (Mar 2002)
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook Dept. Biomedical Engineering, US (Apr 2002)
  • University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Dept. Physics, US (Jan 2000)
  • University of Michigan at Ann Arbor Program for the Study of Complex Systems, US (Jan 2000)
  • University of Chicago Dept. Physics and James Franck Institute, US (Jan 2000)
  • California State University at Northridge Dept. Physics, US (Mar 1999)
  • Lehman College of City University of New York Dept. Physics and Astronomy, US (Oct 1997)
  • Universidade de Lisboa Dept. Physics, Portugal (Oct 1996)
  • Universität-GH Essen Fachbereich Physik, Germany (Jun 1996)
  • Niels Bohr Institute CATS, Denmark (May 1996)
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich HLRZ, Germany (Apr 1996)
  • Universidade do Porto Dept. Physics, Portugal (Oct 1995)
  • University of Chicago Condensed Matter Theory Group, US (Jun 1995)
  • AIChE Annual Meeting Austin, TX, US (Nov 2004)
  • AIChE Annual Meeting San Francisco, CA, US (Nov 2003)
  • AIChE Annual Meeting Indianapolis, IN, US (Nov 2002)
  • StatPhys21 Cancun, Mexico (Jul 2001)
  • International Workshop on Applications of Physics to Financial Analysis Dublin, Ireland (Jun 1999)
  • Conference on Computational Physics Granada, Spain (Sep 1998)
  • ISTAS School on Physics of Biosystems, Self-assembly and Evolution Lisboa, Portugal (Mar 1998)
  • Int'l Workshop on Econophysics Budapest, Hungary (Jul 1997)
  • APS March Meeting Kansas City, KA, US (Mar 1997)
  • Material Research Society Fall Meeting Boston, MA, US (Dec 1996)
  • APS Centennial Meeting Atlanta, GA, US (Mar 1996)
  • MRS Fall Meeting Boston, MA, US (Dec 1995)
  • APS March Meeting San Jose, CA, US (Mar 1995)
  • Nonlinear Aspects of Physicochemical Phenomena Girona, Spain (Aug 1994)