Principal Investigator

Monica Olvera de la Cruz

Meet our PI:

Monica Olvera de la Cruz obtained her B.A. in Physics from the UNAM, Mexico, in 1981, and her Ph.D. in Physics from Cambridge University, UK, in 1985. She was a guest scientist (1985-86) in the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD. She joined Northwestern University in 1986, where she is the Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Professor of Chemistry, and by courtesy Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering, and of Physics and Astronomy. She is the Director of the Center for Computation and Theory of Soft Materials and Deputy Director of the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science. From 2006-2013 she directed the Materials Research Center at Northwestern. From 1995-97 she was a Staff Scientist in the Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique, Saclay, France, where she also held visiting scientist positions in 1993 and in 2003. She has developed theoretical models to determine the thermodynamics, statistics and dynamics of macromolecules in complex environments including multicomponent solutions of heterogeneous synthetic and biological molecules, and molecular electrolytes.

Her major awards/honors include: 2020 Elected Member of the American Philosophical Society; 2017 APS Polymer Physics Prize; 2015-16 Miller Institute Visiting Professor; 2012 Elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences; 2010 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow; 2010 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (DoD); 2007 Cozzarelli Prize, National Academy of Science (NAS); 1990-95 Presidential Young Investigator Award, National Science Foundation (NSF); 1990-92 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship; 1989-94 David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Gordon Research Conference (2019-2025). She has served in many other committees, including the US Department of Energy's Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (BESAC) from 2012-2022, and many NAS NRC committees such as the Board of Physics and Astronomy (2010-15), the Condensed Matter and Materials Research Committee (Chair 2010-12, Vice-Chair 2008-10, Member 2006-10 and 2021-Pre), Research at the Intersection of Life and Physical Sciences Committee (2007-09), the Committee on Societal Benefits from Condensed Matter and Materials Research, and the Committee on Key Challenge Areas for Convergence and Health. She also served on the NSF Mathematical Physical Science Directorate Advisory Committee (2005-09; DMR Chair, 2007-09) and the NSF MRSEC Executive Committee (Chair, 2008-09). She has directed various educational programs and has taught in prestigious schools and workshops. She was Senior Editor for the ACS Central Science from 2015 to 2022. She is a member of the editorial board of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She has served on the advisory boards of national and international research centers and is currently a member of the scientific advisory board of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Physics, Mainz, Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielle de la ville de Paris (ESPCI Paris), and CIC biomaGUNE Scientific Advisory Board, San Sebastian.

Main Affiliations

Other Affiliations

Contact info

Department of Materials Science and Engineering
2220 Campus Drive, Silverman Hall Rm 4621
Evanston, IL 60208 | Phone: (847) 491-7801