red liquid in jar in lab
Research

Chemical engineering encompasses a broad range of cutting-edge research. The diverse education that chemical engineers receive allows them to work at the intersection of a variety of different fields, including biology, chemistry, energy, physics, materials science, and other engineering disciplines. With a premier location in downtown Boston, the department is perfectly located to take advantage of a wealth of collaborations with other universities, as well as local hospitals, medical centers, and industry.


Since 2017, the department has had 54 Visiting Scholars from all over the world learning, sharing, and collaborating on research.
International research collaborations have been established with the International Materials Research Center with Soochow University, China, and the Center for Nano and Pico Medicine with Wenzhou Institute of Biomaterials and Engineering, China.

Research Areas

Chemical engineering research at Northeastern is supported by multiple areas: Biomolecular & Biomedical Systems, Complex & Computational Systems, Energy & Sustainability, Engineering Education & Pedagogy, and Materials & Nanotechnology. Not only will you find any number of fascinating projects in these areas with which you can become involved, but Northeastern is also pushing the limits of possibility at the integration of biological and physical systems by combining expertise from both of our pillars of excellence.

Want to figure out how to grow new cartilage cells that you can use to help eliminate osteoarthritis? How about working on making plant cells produce tough-to-synthesize anti-cancer drugs? Or using fluid mechanics and mass transport theory to develop better ways of dispersing those drugs in the body? Or how to develop materials to meet unprecedented needs in energy without damaging the environment ? All of that is happening now in the department.

Quantum-sized wires to make ultra-small circuitry? Stem cells to heal numerous diseases ? We’re working on that too, as well as new multifunctional materials that will help usher in the next generation of faster, smaller, more capable electronic devices. And ultra-thin polymer coatings that can be functionalized for every purpose, ranging from biocompatible surfaces, to semiconductor applications, to advanced radiation shielding.

Research Centers and Institutes

The College of Engineering is also home to a National Science Foundation Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing, as well as numerous other research centers and institutes and multidisciplinary research initiatives to push the boundaries of research.

Additionally, the Chemical Engineering department has established international research collaborations and centers, including:

  • The International Materials Research Center with Soochow University, China
  • Center for Nano and Pico Medicine with Wenzhou Institute of Biomaterials and Engineering, China (learn more)
building complex of glass walls multiple storiesfour photos of the inside of a lab at a university in China

Wenzhou Institute of Biomaterials and Engineering

Recent News

Creating Stable Non-Critical Element Magnets

Distinguished University and Cabot Professor Laura Lewis, ChE/MIE, is leading a $2.1M Department of Energy grant, in collaboration with the University of Delaware, the Northeastern University Physics department, and the University of Warwick, UK, for “Designing Strong Stability in Non-Critical and Rare-Earth-Lean Magnetic Materials.”

Developing Biomaterial-based Vaccines for Cancer Immunotherapy

ChE Assistant Professor Sidi A. Bencherif received a $2M R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health for “Overcoming vaccine-associated hypoxia with advanced biomaterials to enhance cancer immunotherapy.“

Bencherif working in a lab.

Research to Boost COVID-19 Vaccines Published in ‘Advanced Science’

Could there be an even more effective vaccine? This professor thinks so. Main photo: Existing COVID-19 vaccines have far surpassed public health officials’ expectations. But could they be improved upon even further? Yes, says Sidi Bencherif, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Northeastern. Here’s how. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University The COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized […]

Manufacturing Efficient Magnetic Materials

Distinguished University and Cabot Professor Laura Lewis, ChE/MIE, in collaboration with the University of Warwick, UK, was awarded a $900K NSF grant for “Multi-Driver Furnace Processing of Magneto-Functional Materials.”