Faculty Directory
Niall Mangan

Assistant Professor of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics


2145 Sheridan Road
Tech, Room M450
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-491-7243Email Niall Mangan


Niall Mangan's website


NSF-Simons Center for Quantitative Biology


Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics

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Ph.D. Systems Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Dual B.S. Physics and Mathematics, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY

Research Interests

Data-driven mechanistic modeling for complex systems design

My primary research goal is to connect the speed and automation of top-down data-driven model selection methods with the explanatory power of bottom-up mechanistic modeling. Mechanistic modeling provides a powerful framework for systems design and optimization but relies on the sometimes slow integration of model development and experimental validation. Data science methods promise rapid, automated, descriptions and predictions for complex systems, generally without knowledge of underlying mechanism. Statistics allow us to evaluate how well our models describe a system, given the data. By combining methods, I will rapidly develop explanatory mechanistic models and use them to optimize system performance and design engineering solutions.

Data-driven methods for inferring nonlinear dynamics on biological networks.

Inferring the structure and dynamics of biological networks is critical to understanding and controlling their functionality. I am particularly interested in methods that bridge the gap between -omics level inference and the dynamic interaction of a few metabolic enzymes or regulatory elements in a gene network.

Spatial organization in cells to enhance throughput of biochemical pathways

I am interested in bioengineering of spatial organization in bacteria as a way of producing high-value products like biofuels, alternatives to plastic, and pharmaceuticals.

Systems-level modeling to optimize renewable energy systems.

I am passionate about research which enhances alternative energy. My interest in biological metabolic networks was originally inspired by the potential to bioengineer living bio-fuel factories. I have also worked on design rules for solar cells.


Selected Publications

    C Jakobson, D Tullman-Ercek, N Mangan. “Spatially organizing biochemistry: choosing a strategy to translate synthetic biology to the factory.” Scientific Reports. Vol. 8, Article 8196, (2018)

    N. M. Mangan, J. N. Kutz, S. L. Brunton, and J. L. Proctor. "Model selection for dynamical systems via sparse regression and information criteria." Proc. R. Soc. London A Math. Phys. Eng. Sci. Vol 437, No 2204, (2017)

    C. M. Jakobson, M. F. Slininger, D. Tullman-Ercek, and N. M. Mangan, “A Systems-Level Model Reveals That 1, 2-Propanediol Utilization Microcompartments Enhance Pathway Flux Through Intermediate Sequestration.,” PloS Comp. Bio., vol 13, no 5, p.e1005525, 2017.
    R. E. Brandt, N. M. Mangan,  J. V. Li, Y. S. Lee, and T. Buonassisi. "Determining interface propterties limiting open-circuit voltage in heterojunction solar cells"  J. Appl. Phys., vol 121, p. 185301, 2017.

    N. M. Mangan, S. L. Brunton, J. L. Proctor, and J. N. Kutz, “Inferring biological networks by sparse identification of nonlinear dynamics,” IEEE Transactions on Mol. And Biol. and Multi-Scale Comm. Vol 2, No 1, 2017. 

    N. M. Mangan*, A. Flamholz*, R. D. Hood, R. Milo, and D. F. Savage, “pH determines the energetic efficiency of the cyanobacterial CO2 concentrating mechanism,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., p. 201525145, 2016. (*authors contributed equally)

    N. M. Mangan, R. E. Brandt, V. Steinmann, R. Jaramillo, C. Yang, J. R. Poindexter, R. Chakraborty, H. H. Park, X. Zhao, R. G. Gordon, and Tonio Buonassisi, “Framework to predict optimal buffer layer pairing for thin film solar cell absorbers: A case study for tin sulfide/zinc oxysulfide,” J. Appl. Phys., vol. 118, p. 115102, 2015.

    M.-J. Sher, N. M. Mangan, M. J. Smith, Y.-T. Lin, S. Marbach, T. M. Schneider, S. Gradečak, M. P. Brenner, and E. Mazur, “Femtosecond-laser hyperdoping silicon in an SF6 atmosphere: Dopant incorporation mechanism,” J. Appl. Phys., vol. 117, no. 12, p. 125301, Mar. 2015.

    Y.-T. Lin, N. Mangan, S. Marbach, T. M. Schneider, G. Deng, S. Zhou, M. P. Brenner, and E. Mazur, “Creating femtosecond-laser-hyperdoped silicon with a homogeneous doping profile,” Appl. Phys. Lett., vol. 106, no. 6, p. 62105, 2015.

    N. Mangan and M. Brenner, “Systems analysis of the CO2 concentrating mechanism in cyanobacteria,” Elife, 2014

Previous positions

  • Acting Assistant Professor, Dept. Applied Math at University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 2016-2017
  • Research Associate Consultant, Institute for Disease Modeling, Bellevue, WA, 2016-2017
  • Visiting Lecturer, School of Engineering, Brown University, 2015
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Photovoltaics Research Lab MIT, 2013-2015  


  • Lynch Foundation Fellowship, 2009
  • NSF Graduate Fellowship, August 2008
  • Levinus Clarkson Award, May 2008
  • Pi Mu Epsilon
  • Goldwater Scholarship Award, March 2006