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EXPLORE NORTHEASTERN

Mona Minkara

Assistant Professor,  Bioengineering
Affiliated Faculty,  Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Contact

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Office

  • 325 ISEC
  • 617.373.2031

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Research Focus

Using computational methods, such as Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations, to obtain a fundamental understanding of molecular interactions that occur at biological interfaces, such as the pulmonary surfactant system

About

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 Radhankrishnan 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 PhD 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 received several awards recognizing her achievements. Dr. Minkara is also an active member of the American Chemical Society on the Chemists with Disabilities committee and the Biomedical Engineering Society on the Diversity Committee.

For more information, check out Dr. Minkara’s website at https://www.monaminkara.com.

Education

  • PhD, Chemistry, University of Florida Gainesville, 2015
  • BA, Chemistry and Middle-Eastern Studies, Wellesley College, 2009

Professional Affiliations

  • American Chemical Society
  • ACS Chemists with Disabilities Committee
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Biomedical Engineering Society
  • National Federation of the Blind

Research Overview

Using computational methods, such as Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations, to obtain a fundamental understanding of molecular interactions that occur at biological interfaces, such as the pulmonary surfactant system

Using Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations to obtain a deeper understanding of the chemical interactions that occur at biological interfaces and leverage that knowledge to engineering better treatments and drug delivery methodologies; development of new computational methods for improved molecular insights; design new tools for blind and low-vision scientists to make science more accessible and inclusive.

Department Research Areas

Selected Publications

 

  • “Monte Carlo Simulations Probing the Liquid/Vapour Interface of Water/Hexane Mixtures: Adsorption Thermodynamics, Hydrophobic Effect, and Structural Analysis.” Minkara, M.S.; Josephson, T.; Venteicher, C.L.; Chen, J.L.; Stein, D.J.; Peters, C.J.; Siepmann, J.I. Mol. Phys. 2018
  • “Probing Additive Loading in the Lamellar Phase of a Nonionic Surfactant: Gibbs Ensemble Monte Carlo Simulations using the SDK Force Field.” Minkara, M.S.; Lindsey, R.K.; Hembree, R.H.; Venteicher, C.L.; Jamadagni, S.N.; Eike, D.M.; Ghobadi, A.F.; Koenig, P.H.; Siepmann, J.I. Langmuir 2018
  • “Reduction of Urease Activity by Interaction with the Flap Covering the Active Site.” Macomber, L.; Minkara, M.S.; Hausinger, R.P.; Merz, K.M., Jr. J. Chem. Inf. Model. 2015
  • “Implementation of Protocols to Enable Doctoral Training in Physical and Computational Chemistry of a Blind Graduate Student.” Minkara, M.S.; Weaver, M.N.; Gorske, J.; Bowers, C.R.; Merz, K.M., Jr. Chem. Educ. 2015
  • “Effect of 10.5 M Aqueous Urea on Helicobacter pylori Urease: A Molecular Dynamics Study.” Minkara, M.S.;Weaver, M.N.; Merz, K.M., Jr. Biochemistry 2015

 

Faculty

May 20, 2020

REU Award for Modeling SARS-CoV-2 Proteins

BioE Affiliated Faculty Mary Jo Ondrechen, Assistant Professor Mona Minkara, and COS Assistant Professor Steven Lopez were awarded a $73K NSF RAPID grant for “Undergraduate Research in Modeling and Computation for Discovery of Molecular Probes for SARS-CoV-2 Proteins.”

mona minkara

In the Media

Mar 11, 2020

Professor Mona Minkara’s interactive classroom requires no sight

BioE Assistant Professor Mona Minkara was featured in The Huntington News article “Professor Mona Minkara’s interactive classroom requires no sight” for the challenges and successes she has had after being diagnosed with macular degeneration and cone-rod dystrophy.

mona minkara

Faculty

Nov 13, 2019

Approaching Research From a Different Perspective

BioE Assistant Professor Mona Minkara, who has been blind since she was seven, has learned to approach research from different angles which is helping her determine how vaping affects lung function.

Faculty

Aug 29, 2019

New Faculty Spotlight: Mona Minkara

Mona Minkara joins the Bioengineering department in August 2019 as an Assistant Professor.

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