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Monica Olvera de la Cruz

Lawyer Taylor Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry; Professor Chemical and Biological Engineering (by courtesy); Professor, Physics and Astronomy (by courtesy)

Ph.D. in Physics, Cambridge University, 1985; B.A. in Physics, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), 1981

Research Interests

The Olvera de la Cruz research group investigates physical phenomena related to electrostatics in soft-matter physics, both analytically and computationally in collaboration with various experimental groups at Northwestern. Recent topics include studying electrostatic-driven co-assembly, DNA adsorption in situ, electrostatic spontaneous symmetry-breaking of ionic fibers and membranes, interfacial adsorption and phase-segregation dynamics of complex fluids such as multicomponent blends and molecular electrolytes, as well as analyzing the roles of dielectric heterogeneities and of water in the solubility of charged nano-particles in electrolyte solutions.

Selected Publications

  • D. P. Erdosy, M. B. Wenny, J. Cho, C. DelRe,M. V. Walter, F. Jiménez-Ángeles, B. Qiao, R. Sanchez, Y. Peng, B. D. Polizzotti, M. Olvera de la Cruz, J. A. Mason "Microporous Water with High Gas SolubilitiesNature(2022) DOI:10.1038/s41586-022-05029-w. (COVER ARTICLE)
  • Y. Lin and M. Olvera de la Cruz “Superionic Colloidal Crystals: Ionic to Metallic Bonding Transitions” J. Phys. Chem(2022); DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.2c04041
  • C. A. Brisbois and M.Olvera de la Cruz “Locomotion of magnetoelastic membranes in viscous fluids”Phys. Rev. Research 4023166 (2022) DOI:10.1103/PhysRevResearch.4.023166
  • A. Aggarwal, C. Li S. I Stupp and M. Olvera de la Cruz “Controlling the Shape Morphology of Origami-Inspired Photoresponsive Hydrogels” Soft Matter18, 2193 (2022); DOI: 10.1039/D1SM01751A
  • C. Waltmann, C. E. Mills, J. Wang, B. Qiao, J. M. Torkelson, D. Tullman-Ercekb, and M. Olvera de la Cruz "Functional Enzyme-Polymer ComplexesPNAS19 (13), e2119509119 (2021); DOI: | 10.1073/pnas.2119509119
  • Bo Zhang, Hang Yuan, Andrey Sokolov, Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Alexey Snezhko "Polar state reversal in active fluidsNature Physics18, 154-159 (2022); DOI: 10.1038/s41567-021-01442-6
  • A. Ehlen, H. Lopez-Rios, M. Olvera de la Cruz, “Metallization of Colloidal Crystals” Phys. Rev. Mater. 2021, 5 (11), 115601.
  • Zhengyan Zhang, Hang Yuang, Yong Dou, M. Olvera de la Cruz and Kyle J. M. Bishop "Quincke Oscillations of Colloids at Planar ElectrodesPhysical Review Letters126, 258001 (2021); DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.126.258001
  • Y. Li, N.W. Kennedy, S. Li, C.E. Mills, D. Tullman-Ercek, M. Olvera de la Cruz, “Computational and experimental approaches to controlling bacterial microcompartment assembly” ACS Central Science 7, 4, 658–670 (2021);
  • S. Li, D. A. Matoz-Fernandez, A. Aggarwal, and M. Olvera de la Cruz “Chemically controlled pattern formation in self-oscillating elastic shells” PNAS 118 (10), e2025717118 (2021); DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2025717118 PMID: 33649242
  • F. Jimenez-Angeles, K. Harmon, T.D. Nguyen, P. Fenter, and M. Olvera de la Cruz, "Non-Reciprocal Interactions Induced by Water in ConfinementPhysical Review Research2, 043244 (2020); DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevResearch.2.043244
  • B. Qiao and M. Olvera de la Cruz, “Enhanced Binding of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein to Receptor by Distal Polybasic Cleavage Sites” ACS Nano14, 10616–10623 (2020); DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c04798
  • B. Ma, T. D. Nguyen, and M. Olvera de la Cruz, “Control of Ionic Mobility via Charge Size Asymmetry in Random IonomersNanoLetters 20, 43-49 (2020); DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b02743
  • M. Girard, S. Wang, J. S. Du, A. Das, Z. Huang, V. P. Dravid, B. Lee, C. A. Mirkin, and M. Olvera de la Cruz, “Particle analogs of electrons in colloidal crystalsScience364, 1174-1178 (2019); DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw8237.
  • T.D.Nguyen, H. Li, D. Bagchi, F. J. Solis and M. Olvera de la Cruz, “Incorporating surface polarization effects into large-scale coarse-grained Molecular Dynamics simulation” Computer Physics Communications241, 80-91 (2019); DOI: 10.1016/j.cpc.2019.03.006.
  • Trung Dac Nguyen, Baofu Qiao, and Monica Olvera de la Cruz, "Efficient encapsulation of proteins with random copolymers" PNAS 26, 6578-6583 (2018); DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1806207115
  • Stacey M. Chin, Christopher V. Synatschke, Shuangping Liu, Rikkert J. Nap, Nicholas A. Sather, Qifeng Wang, Zaida Alvarez, Alexandra N. Edelbrock, Timmy Fyrner, Liam C. Palmer, Igal Szleifer, Monica Olvera de la Cruz and Samuel I. Stupp "Covalent-supramolecular hybrid polymers as muscle-inspired anisotropic actuators" Nature Communications 9, 2395 (2018); DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04800-w
  • Aykut Erbaş, Monica Olvera de la Cruz, and John F. Marko "Effects of electrostatic interactions on ligand dissociation kinetics". Phys. Rev. E 97, 022405; DOI:
  • Brian Panganiban, Baofu Qiao, Tao Jiang, Christopher DelRe, Mona M. Obadia, Trung Dac Nguyen, Anton A. A. Smith, Aaron Hall, Izaac Sit, Marquise G. Crosby, Patrick B. Dennis, Eric Drockenmuller, Monica Olvera de la Cruz & Ting Xu. "Random heteropolymers preserve protein function in foreign environments". Science 359: 1239-1243 (2018); DOI: 10.1126/science.aao0335
  • Kurinji Krishnamoorthy, Kyle Hoffmann, Sumit Kewalramani, Jeffrey D. Brodin, Liane M. Moreau, Chad A. Mirkin, Monica Olvera de la Cruz, & Michael J. Bedzyk. "Defining the structure of a protein–spherical nucleic acid conjugate and its counterionic cloud." ACS Central Science 4, 378–386 (2018); DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.7b00577.
  • Boran Ma, Trung Dac Nguyen, Victor A. Pryamitsyn, & Monica Olvera de la Cruz. "Ionic correlations in random ionomers." Acs Nano 12, 2311–2318 (2018); DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b07432.
  • Yaohua Li, Martin Girard, Meng Shen, Jaime Andres Millan and Monica Olvera de la Cruz, "Strong Attractions and Repulsions Mediated by Monovalent Salts" PNAS 114, 11838-11843 (2017); DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1713168114
  • Pablo Vazquez-Montejo, Joshua M. Dempster, and Monica Olvera de la Cruz, “Paramagnetic filaments in a fast precessing field: Planar versus helical conformations” Phys. Rev. Materials 1, 064402 (2017); DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.1.064402
  • Mary Wang, Jeffrey Brodin, Jaime Millan, Soyoung Seo, Martin Girard, Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Byeongdu Lee, and Chad Mirkin, "Altering DNA-Programmable Colloidal Crystallization Paths by Modulating Particle Repulsion" Nanoletters 17, 5126-5132 (2017); DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b02502
  • Martin Girard, Trung Dac Nguyen, and Monica Olvera de la Cruz, “Orbitals for classical arbitrary anisotropic colloidal potentials” Physical Review E 96, 053309 (2017); DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.96.053309
  • Meng Shen, Honghao Li, and Monica Olvera de la Cruz, “Surface polarization effects on ion-containing emulsions” Physical Review Letters 119, 138002 (2017); DOI:
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