Monica Olvera de la Cruz, PhD

Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering;
Professor of Chemistry, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and (by courtesy) Chemical and Biological Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering, and and Physics and Astronomy, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Member, Chemistry of Life Processes Institute

Research in the Olvera de la Cruz group is centered around the development of models to describe the self-assembly of heterogeneous molecules including amphiphiles, copolymers, and synthetic and biological polyelectrolytes, as well as the segregation and interface adsorption in multicomponent complex fluids. Work by the group has resulted in a revised model of ionic-driven assembly: demonstrating the electrostatic spontaneous symmetry breaking of ionic fibers and membranes, and identifying its relevance to biological functions and to the design of functional materials. The group’s investigations into soft and condensed matter physics have advanced scientific knowledge and opened new research fields of technological importance, including gel electrophoreses dynamics, self-organization of molecular electrolytes into bio-mimetic materials, self-assembly of heterogeneous molecules into complex nanostructures, interface adsorption and phase segregation dynamics and structure of multicomponent fluids.


Adebola Adeniran, Sarah Stainbrook, John W. Bostick, Keith Edward Jaggard Tyo, “Detection of a Peptide Biomarker by Engineered Yeast Receptors”, ACS Synthetic Biology, (2018)

Alexandra M. de Paz, Thaddeus R. Cybulski, Adam H. Marblestone, Bradley M. Zamft, George M. Church, Edward S. Boyden, Konrad P. Kording, Keith Edward Jaggard Tyo, “High-resolution mapping of DNA polymerase fidelity using nucleotide imbalances and next-generation sequencing”, Nucleic Acids Research, (2018)

Andrew K.D. Younger, Peter Y. Su, Andrea J. Shepard, Shreya V. Udani, Thaddeus R. Cybulski, Keith Edward Jaggard Tyo, Joshua N Leonard, “Development of novel metabolite-responsive transcription factors via transposon-mediated protein fusion”, Protein Engineering, Design and Selection, (2018)

Li Wang, Chenchen Liang, Jing Wu, Liming Liu, Keith Edward Jaggard Tyo, “Increased processivity, misincorporation, and nucleotide incorporation efficiency in Sulfolobus solfataricus Dpo4 thumb domain mutants”, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, (2017)

Jennifer L. Greene, Andreas Waechter, Keith Edward Jaggard Tyo, Linda J Broadbelt, “Acceleration Strategies to Enhance Metabolic Ensemble Modeling Performance”, Biophysical Journal, (2017)

Dante A. Pertusi, Matthew E. Moura, James G. Jeffryes, Siddhant Prabhu, Bradley Walters Biggs, Keith Edward Jaggard Tyo, “Predicting novel substrates for enzymes with minimal experimental effort with active learning”, Metabolic Engineering, (2017)

Jing Wu, Alexandra De Paz, Bradley M. Zamft, Adam H. Marblestone, Edward S. Boyden, Konrad Paul Kording, Keith Edward Jaggard Tyo, “DNA binding strength increases the processivity and activity of a Y-Family DNA polymerase”, Scientific Reports, (2017)

William Bothfeld, Grace Kapov, Keith E.J. Tyo, “A Glucose-Sensing Toggle Switch for Autonomous, High Productivity Genetic Control”, ACS Synthetic Biology, (2017)

Select Honors and Awards

National Institutes of Health FIRST Award, 1988–93

David and Lucille Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, 1989–94

Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, 1990–92

NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1990–95

Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2001

Engineering and Applied Sciences Cozzarelli Prize, Proceeding of the National Academies, National Academies, 2007

2010 American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow

2010-2015 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship

2012 Elected member of the National Academy of Sciences

2013 Distinguished Lecturer, Mathematical Physical Sciences Directorate, National Science Foundation

2017 Polymer Prize of the American Physical Society