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Honors and Awards

Niall Mangan Receives DOE Early Career Award

The award recognizes next-generation STEM leaders poised to solidify America’s role as a driver of science

Northwestern Engineering’s Niall Mangan has received a Faculty Early Career award from the US Department of Energy (DOE), an honor recognizing next-generation STEM leaders poised to solidify America’s role as the driver of science and innovation around the world.

Niall Mangan

Mangan, assistant professor of engineering sciences and applied mathematics at the McCormick School of Engineering, was one of 93 awardees from 47 universities and 12 DOE national laboratories. Her proposal, “Data-Driven Discovery of Dynamic Models to Characterize Energy Systems,” was chosen for funding by the DOE’s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

Mangan’s project will aim to accelerate the rate at which energy systems – particularly material and biological systems – can be characterized from complex data by developing new methods for sparse model discovery and experimental design for mechanistically interpretable ordinary differential equations (ODEs). The work will address current methodological gaps that limit the computational feasibility of model selection for systems with unmeasured or unidentified variables and from complex data sets with multiple underlying systems behaviors.

As part of the research, Mangan will combine state-of-the-art nonlinear parameter estimation with sparse penalization, developing a framework that will expand the practical and computational limits of data-driven model construction from complex, real-world datasets.

“A semi-automated method for discovering mechanistic ordinary differential equation models could revolutionize our ability to quickly understand energy systems,” said Mangan, a member of Northwestern’s Center for Synthetic Biology. “And while we will develop the method in the context of target biological and materials systems, the approach could also be applied to other systems, including environmental systems, biochemistry, device physics, and catalysis science where nonlinear dynamics terms determine the behavior of a dynamical system.”