Faculty Profile

Andrew Ferguson

Materials Science and Engineering
Andrew Ferguson
Andrew Ferguson
Assistant Professor
204 Materials Science & Eng Bld
1304 W. Green
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 300-2354

Primary Research Area

  • Nanoscale Science and Technology

Education

  • Ph.D., Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University, NJ, 2010; Thesis Advisors: Professors A.Z. Panagiotopoulos, P.G. Debenedetti and I.G. Kevrekidis; Dissertation: "A Computational Investigation of Low-Dimensional Parametrizations for n-Alkanes and Peptides in Water"
  • M. Eng. (first class honors), Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology, Imperial College London, UK, 2005

Biography

Professor Andrew Ferguson received an M.Eng. with first class honors in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London in 2005, and a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Princeton University in 2010. His doctoral work focused on the application and development of techniques for the nonlinear embedding of biomolecular simulation trajectories to systematically identify the stable states, fundamental dynamical motions, and folding pathways. In 2010 he assumed a post-doctoral research position at MIT as a Ragon Fellow, where he applied statistical mechanical tools to develop data-driven models of HIV viral fitness landscapes for computational vaccine design. Andrew joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in 2012.

Academic Positions

  • University of Illinois, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2013 - present
  • University of Illinois, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Computational Science and Engineering, 2012 - present
  • University of Illinois, Assistant Professor, 2012 - present
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ragon Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010 - 2012; Advisor: Professor A.K. Chakraborty

For more information

Professional Registrations

  • Associate Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (AMIChemE)

Professional Highlights

  • Professor Andrew Ferguson received an M.Eng. with first class honors in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London in 2005, and a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Princeton University in 2010. His doctoral work focused on the application and development of techniques for the nonlinear embedding of biomolecular simulation trajectories to systematically identify the stable states, fundamental dynamical motions, and folding pathways. In 2010 he assumed a post-doctoral research position at MIT as a Ragon Fellow, where he applied statistical mechanical tools to develop data-driven models of HIV viral fitness landscapes for computational vaccine design. Andrew joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in 2012.

Post-Doctoral Research Opportunities

No post-doctoral research opportunities are available at this time.

Graduate Research Opportunities

We are looking for highly motivated and talented graduate students with interests in computational materials science and/or biophysical simulation for research opportunities in three areas:

1) machine learning inverse design of self-assembling colloids and peptides

2) computational vaccine design for hepatitis C virus and flu

3) nonlinear learning and QSAR design of antimicrobial cell penetrating peptides (w/ UCLA)

No prior experience in computer programming or molecular simulation is necessary, but a strong background in mathematics and physical sciences is required.

Interested students should contact Prof. Ferguson directly at alf@illinois.edu for more information.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

We are looking for highly motivated and talented UIUC undergraduates from all departments for the following research opportunities. All positions are available during Summer 2017, with the possibility to start early during the Spring semester. Interested undergraduate students from all departments should contact Prof. Ferguson directly at alf@illinois.edu enclosing a current (unofficial) transcript and CV.

1. Computational design of hepatitis C vaccines using GPU-accelerated Bayesian inference

2. Computational study of asphaltene aggregation using molecular dynamics simulation

3. Mesoscale molecular simulations of self-assembling organic electronic nanowires

4. Molecular design of self-assembling antimicrobial nanostructures

Research Areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Computational Material Science
  • Polymers

Research Topics

Chapters in Books

Selected Articles in Journals

Articles in Conference Proceedings

Pending Articles

  • J. Wang, M. Gayatri, and A.L. Ferguson "Mesoscale simulation and machine learning of asphaltene aggregation phase behavior and molecular assembly landscapes" J. Phys. Chem. B (submitted, 2017)
  • Z. Song, R.A. Mansbach, R. Baumgartner, K.-C. Shih, H. He, N. Zheng, X. Ba, Y. Huang, D. Mani, Y. Lin, M.-P. Nieh, A.L. Ferguson, L. Yin, and J. Cheng "Modulation of polypeptide conformation through donor-acceptor transformation of side-chain hydrogen bonding ligands" Nat. Commun. (under review, 2017)
  • E.Y. Lee, M.W. Lee, B.M. Fulan, A.L. Ferguson, and G.C.L. Wong "What can machine learning do for antimicrobial peptides, and what can antimicrobial peptides do for machine learning?" Interface Focus (under revision, 2016)
  • A.W. Long and A.L. Ferguson "Landmark diffusion maps (L-dMaps): Accelerated manifold learning out-of- sample extension" Appl. Comput. Harmon. Anal. (under review, 2016)
  • A.L. Ferguson "BayesWHAM: A Bayesian approach for free energy estimation, reweighting, and uncertainty quantification in the weighted histogram analysis method" J. Comput. Chem. (in press, 2017)

Professional Societies

  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Area 1a: Thermodynamics and Transport Properties Programming Committee (2015-present)
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum (CoMSEF) Liaison Director (2016-present)
  • Member, American Physical Society (2017-present)
  • Member, American Chemical Society (ACS) (2012-present)
  • Member, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) (2008-present)
  • Member, Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) (2001-present)

Teaching Honors

  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students for Spring 2016 - MSE 458: Polymer Physics, UIUC [Ranked as "Outstanding" (top 10%)] (2016)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students for Fall 2015 - MSE 498 AF: Computational Materials Science and Engineering, UIUC [Ranked as "Outstanding" (top 10%)] (2015)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students for Spring 2015 - MSE 458: Polymer Physical Chemistry, UIUC [Ranked as "Outstanding" (top 10%)] (2015)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students for Fall 2014 - MSE 498 AF: Computational Materials Science and Engineering, UIUC (2014)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students for Spring 2014 - MSE 458: Polymer Physical Chemistry, UIUC (2014)
  • College of Engineering Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education Collins Fellow (2013)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students for Fall 2013 - MSE 498 AF: Computational Materials Science and Engineering, UIUC (2013)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students for Spring 2013 - MSE 458: Polymer Physical Chemistry, UIUC (2013)
  • Engineering Council Excellence in Teaching, Princeton University (2007)
  • SEAS Commendation List for Outstanding Teaching, Princeton University (2007)

Research Honors

  • Illinois College of Engineering Dean's Award for Excellence in Research (2017)
  • AIChE CoMSEF Young Investigator Award for Modeling & Simulation (2016)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS) COMP OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award (2015)
  • National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Faculty Fellowship (2015-16)
  • ACS PRF 2014 Doctoral New Investigator (2014)
  • NSF CAREER Award: Teaching Machines to Design Self-Assembling Materials (DMR-1350008) (2013)
  • IChemE North America Young Chemical Engineer of the Year 2013 (2013)
  • Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard Postdoctoral Fellowship (2010)
  • Princeton University School of Engineering Wu Fellowship (2005-2009) (2005)