Institute for Molecular Engineering and the College
Andrew Ferguson’s research uses computation and theory to understand and design self-assembling materials, macromolecular folding, and antiviral therapies. In his materials work, he applies nonlinear manifold learning to all-atom and coarse-grained simulations of polymers, peptides, and colloids to determine folding and assembly mechanisms and rational design principles. In his virology work, he has developed a statistical inference procedure to translate viral sequence databases into empirical models of fitness and design vaccine immunogens against HIV and hepatitis C virus. In his enhanced sampling work, he combines tools from dynamical systems theory and nonlinear manifold learning to recover folding landscapes from experimentally accessible molecular observables, and uses tools from deep learning for on-the-fly collective variable identification and accelerated recovery of molecular free energy landscapes in molecular simulation.
Among his awards, Ferguson received a 2017 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research and a 2016 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum Young Investigator Award for Modeling and Simulation.
He earned an MEng in chemical engineering from Imperial College London and a PhD in chemical and biological engineering from Princeton University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. Most recently, Ferguson was an associate professor of materials science and engineering, as well as chemical and biomolecular engineering, at UIUC.