Erin N. Sawardecker

Ph.D. Candidate

Chemical & Biological Engineering
2145 Sheridan Road (Room E136)
EvanstonIL 60208US


I was born outside of Pittsburgh, PA, in 1982. After living in Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Kentucky, I decided to give Illinois a try and did my undergraduate studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology. I enjoyed being on IIT’s very first women’s soccer team my senior year, as well as being part of the team who hosted the AIChE Regional Student Conference in spring 2004.

Since then I have joined Dr. Luis Amaral’s group in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. Since joining the group, I have been working on two projects. The first project is investigating conformation space networks that arise in protein and RNA folding and finding ways to simplify these networks. The second project involves determining how current community detection algorithms perform for networks with overlapping communities and for networks with a bipartite structure.


  • B. Sc. Chemical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology (2004)

Awards and Honors

  • Invited presenter at NICO Complexity Conference, Northwestern University (2007)

Selected Communications

  • Northwestern University Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems, US (Mar 2007)
  • AIChE Annual Meeting Salt Lake City, UT, US (Nov 2007)
  • AIChE Annual Meeting San Francisco, CA, US (Nov 2006)
  • AIChE Annual Meeting Cincinnati, OH, US (Nov 2005)
  • AIChE IIT Chapter Chicago, IL, US (Apr 2008)