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Dr. Mona Minkara
Principal Investigator
Dr. Mona S. Minkara
Tenure-Track Assistant Professor
Department of Bioengineering
Affiliated Faculty of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Dr. Minkara's passion for research began during her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College. While pursuing her BA in Chemistry, she joined the research group of Dr. Mala Radhakrishnan where she used computational methods to explore the binding of drugs to HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase. After completing her BA in 2009, Dr. Minkara spent a year conducting research under a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant. In 2010, she continued onto graduate studies at the University of Florida supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Under her co-advisors, Dr. Kenneth M. Merz Jr. and Dr. Erik Deumens, she focused on using molecular dynamics simulations to design a new inhibitor for Helicobacter pylori urease, an enzyme that helps bacteria survive in the stomach. In 2015, she received her Ph.D in Chemistry. Her graduate studies were followed by a post-doc at the Chemical Theory Center at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the lab of Dr. J. Ilja Siepmann. In this role, Dr. Minkara used Monte Carlo simulations to explore the interfacial properties of surfactants, the surface tension of water, and the miscibility gap of supercritical fluids. In addition, she was also awarded a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Minkara joined the Department of Bioengineering at Northeastern University in August of 2019 as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. In November of 2019, she became an Affiliate Faculty of the Chemistry & Chemical Biology Department. Throughout her career, her work has led to numerous publications in high-impact journals, presentations and posters at the national and local conferences, and several awards recognizing her achievements. Dr. Minkara is also an active member of the American Chemical Society and the Biomedical Engineering Society and serves on a committee in each organization.
Fun fact: Dr. Minkara is a huge Harry Potter fan, enjoys knitting, and loves drinking tea. Seriously. She really likes tea. There is a 100% chance she will offer you tea if you meet with her in her office.
Graduate Students
Deng Li
Deng Li is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Bioengineering. His research focuses on the application of molecular dynamics simulations to explore the molecular mechanisms of the pulmonary surfactant system, particularly those of surfactant protein D (SP-D). In 2020, Deng graduated from the National Taiwan University, having received a Master's degree in Civil Engineering where he investigated the molecular mechanisms of cartilage tissue degradation. He likes climbing mountains and running marathons. He has climbed one-third of the One Hundred Peaks of Taiwan, each of which has an altitude over 3000 meters.
Members
Carmen Graham
Carmen Graham is a first year bioengineering student and is working on molecular dynamics simulations of DPPC. She was born in Houston, TX, and graduated high school from the International School of Kuala Lumpur in 2019. She knows that she wants to do research in the future and is excited to be working on a research project as an undergrad.
Rupsa Paul
Rupsa Paul is a second year bioengineering student and is working on a molecular dynamics simulation of surfactant protein A, a protein found in the lungs. She was born in Gujarat, India, and graduated high school from North Hunterdon High School in Annandale, NJ. She is excited to continue doing research for her undergraduate years and to see where it leads in the future.
Jake Duffy
My name is Jake, and I’m a first year computer science and physics student. I grew up about 45 minutes north of Chicago. I’m working on Monte Carlo simulations of pentadecanoic acid (PDA), and I’m excited to be conducting research in computational chemistry as it both applies my computer science curriculum as well as extends my knowledge to a new field.
Tyler Locke
Tyler is a first-year biomedical physics and math student and is very excited to apply his education doing research in the COMBINE lab. He will be working on molecular dynamics simulations of surfactant protein B. Tyler will also be running the Boston Marathon in April 2020!
Yixue (Tina) Xia
Hi, my name is Yixue (Tina) Xia, I am an undergraduate student majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology, I am on the pre-med track and plan to go to med school. In my free time, I like to skateboard, travel and play Gomoku. I also train with my friends for triathlons. I also really love animals, and since my family doesn't own any pets, I volunteer at a dog shelter that finds better homes for retired greyhounds and I work at a cat cafe.