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Monica Olvera de la Cruz Honored by Department of Defense, Named NSSEFF Fellow

Northwestern University's Monica Olvera de la Cruz has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense as a fellow in its National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF) program.

She is the Lawyer Taylor Professor, professor of materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and director of the University's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

Olvera de la Cruz is one of only 11 distinguished university faculty scientists and engineers from across the nation forming the program's 2010 class. The selection process was rigorous; only 1.4 percent of nominees received the honor.

She will receive up to $4.25 million of support for up to five consecutive years for her research project, "Paradigms for Emergence of Shape and Function in Biomolecular Electrolytes for the Design of Biomimetic Materials."

The grants awarded to the new fellows support unclassified, basic research that may transform the Department of Defense's capabilities in the long term.

Olvera de la Cruz is the second Northwestern faculty member to be named an NSSEFF fellow. Chad Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, was named an inaugural fellow in 2008.

In her work, 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.

- Megan Fellman