Monica Olvera de la Cruz

Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University

Monica Olvera de la Cru
Credit: Courtesy of Monica Olvera de la Cru

Monica Olvera de la Cruz 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. She joined Northwestern University in 1986, where she is the Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, Professor of Chemistry, and by courtesy Professor of Physics and Astronomy and of Chemical & Biological Engineering. 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 – 1997 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 was a guest scientist (1985 – 1986) in the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD. She obtained her B.A. in Physics from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico, in 1981, and her Ph.D. in Physics from Cambridge University, UK, in 1985.

Her major awards/honors include: 2020 Elected Member of the American Philosophical Society, 2017 American Physical Society Polymer Physics Prize, 2015 – 2016 Miller Institute Visiting Professor, 2012 Elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences; 2010 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; 2010 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (DoD); 2007 Cozzarelli Prize, National Academy of Science (NAS); 1990 – 1995 Presidential Young Investigator Award, National Science Foundation (NSF); 1990 – 1992 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship; and 1989 – 1994 David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the US Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee. She has served on many other committees including the NAS NRC Board of Physics and Astronomy (2010 – 2015), the NAS NRC Condensed Matter and Materials Research Committee (Chair 2010 – 2012, Vice-Chair 2008 – 2010, Member 2006 – 2010), Research at the Intersection of Life and Physical Sciences Committee (2007 – 2009), the Committee on Societal Benefits from Condensed Matter and Materials Research, and the Committee on Key Challenge Areas for Convergence and Health. She served on the NSF Mathematical Physical Science Directorate Advisory Committee (2005 – 2009; DMR Chair, 2007 – 2009) and the NSF MRSEC Executive Committee (Chair, 2008 – 2009). She serves on the advisory boards of many national research centers and is a Senior Editor for the ACS Central Science, as well as a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Chemical Physics, Macromolecules, Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, and Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation.