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, 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 Co-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: 2917 American Physical Society 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, and a member of the US Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee. She has served in many other committees including the NAS NRC Board of Physics and Astronomy (2010-15), the NAS NRC Condensed Matter and Materials Research Committee (Chair 2010-12, Vice-Chair 2008-10, Member 2006-10), 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 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 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 Polymer B: Polymer Physics, and Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation.