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Monica Ilies, PhD

Associate Teaching Professor
Department of Chemistry
Office: Disque Hall 224
Phone: 215.895.2642


  • University of Pennsylvania, Post-doctoral Researcher (Bio-organic/inorganic Chemistry), 2004-2009
  • University of Texas Medical Branch, Post-doctoral Researcher (Molecular Biology), 2003-2004
  • University of Florence (Italy), Post-doctoral Researcher (Bioorganic Chemistry), 2002-2003
  • Polytechnic University (Roumania), PhD (Bioorganic Chemistry), 1997-2002
  • University of Bucharest (Roumania), MSc (Organic Chemistry), 1995-1997
  • University of Bucharest (Roumania), BS (Hons.) (Chemistry), 1990-1995

Curriculum Vitae:

Download CV [PDF]

Research Interests:

Bioorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology:

Structure- and fragment-based drug design: development of new isozyme-specific and/or tissue/organ-selective inhibitors or activators with increased potency and improved biocompatibility for metalloenzymes connected with physiopathology; multi-step organic synthesis; biological evaluation for systemic and topic administration.

Bioinorganic Chemistry and Biochemistry:

Structural characteristics and in vivo roles of metalloproteins: enzyme kinetics; spectrometric techniques for structural analysis of small molecules and of their supra-molecular assemblies; biochemistry/molecular biology techniques for protein expression, purification and immunodetection.


  • 2017: Evidence-Based Teaching Award in Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education (STEM) - Drexel University
  • 2015: Drexel Service Recognition Award


Monica Ilies has an extensive research background in bioorganic chemistry and chemical biology, and more than 17 years teaching experience at different universities, both in the United States and Europe. She published 25 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals (>1300 citations in the research literature; h-index 19; i10-index 20), 1 book chapter, 1 undergraduate course and 4 laboratory manuals.

In 2010, she joined the Department of Chemistry at Drexel University, where she has been actively involved in the development and application of evidence-based teaching practices, such as clickers, muddiest point cards, "study-buddy", think-pair-share, small-group problem-solving, and partially flipped classroom and integrated content delivery in general, organic, and medicinal chemistry classes.

She has presented her pedagogical work at the American Chemical Society national meetings in the Division of Chemical Education. Since 2013 she has also been coordinating the general chemistry service courses (CHEM 101-102) and is currently a member of the national committee that will develop the standardized General Chemistry exam to be released in 2019. Her teaching philosophy revolves around a simple tripartite core: 1) we learn best when we do; 2) we understand the most when we teach; and 3) the most effective learning-teaching process is personalized.

Selected Publications:

  • M. Ilies; E.J. Thorne; S.A. Rutkowsky. “Laboratory Manual: General Chemistry II”, Drexel University, Philadelphia, 2016, 94 pages.
  • M. Ilies; E.J. Thorne; S.A. Rutkowsky. “Laboratory Manual: General Chemistry I”, Drexel University, Philadelphia, 2013, 106 pages.
  • M. Ilies; L. Di Costanzo; D.P. Dowling; K.J. Thorn; D.W. Christianson “Binding of α,α-Disubstituted Amino Acids to Arginase Suggests New Avenues for Inhibitor Design” J. Med. Chem. 2011, 54, 5432-5443.
  • M. Ilies; D.P. Dowling; P.M. Lombardi; D.W. Christianson “Synthesis of a New Trifluoromethylketone Analogue of l-Arginine and Contrasting Inhibitory Activity Against Human Arginase I and Histone Deacetylase 8.” Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2011, 21, 5854-5858.
  • M. Ilies; L. Di Costanzo; M.L. North; J.A. Scott; D.W. Christianson “2-Aminoimidazole Amino Acids as Inhibitors of the Binuclear Manganese Metalloenzyme Human Arginase I.” J. Med. Chem. 2010, 53, 4266-4276.
  • D.P. Dowling; M. Ilies; K.L. Olszewski; S. Portugal; M. M. Mota; M. Llinas; D.W. Christianson “Crystal Structure of Arginase from Plasmodium falciparum and Implications for L-Arginine Depletion in Malarial Infection.” Biochemistry 2010, 49, 5600-5608.
  • L. Di Costanzo; M. Ilies; K.J. Thorn; D.W. Christianson. “Inhibition of Human Arginase I by Substrate and Product Analogues” Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 2010, 496, 101-108.
  • J.H. Kim; L. Bugaj; Y.J. Oh; T. Bivalacqua; S. Ryoo; K.G. Soucy; L. Santhanam; A. Webb; A. Camara; G. Sikka; D. Nyhan; A. Shoukas; M. Ilies; D.W. Christianson; H.C. Champion; D.E. Berkowitz. “Arginase Inhibition Restores NOS Coupling and Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction and Vascular Stiffness in Old Rats” J. Appl. Physiol. 2009, 107, 1249-1257.
  • S. Ryoo; G. Gupta; A. Benjo; H.K. Lim; A. Camara; G. Sikka; H.K. Lim; J. Sohi; L. Santhanam; K. Soucy; E. Tuday; E. Baraban; M. Ilies; G. Gerstenblith; D. Nyhan; A. Shoukas; D.W. Christianson; N.J. Alp; H.C. Champion; D. Huso; D.E. Berkowitz. “Endothelial Arginase II. A Novel Target for the Treatment of Atherosclerosis” Circulation Research 2008, 102, 923-932.
  • M. Peterca; V. Percec; A.E. Dulcey; S. Nummelin; S. Korey; M. Ilies; P.A. Heiney. “Self-assembly, Structural, and Retrostructural Analysis of Dendritic Dipeptide Pores Undergoing Reversible Circular to Elliptical Shape Change” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 6713-6720.
  • V. Percec; A.E. Dulcey; M. Peterca; M. Ilies; S. Nummelin; M.J. Sienkowska; P.A. Heiney. “Principles of Self-assembly of Helical Pores from Dendritic Dipeptides” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2006, 103, 2518-2523.
  • V. Percec; A.E. Dulcey; M. Peterca; M. Ilies; M.J. Sienkowska; P.A. Heiney. “Programming the Internal Structure and Stability of Helical Pores Self-assembled from Dendritic Dipeptides via the Protective Groups of the Peptide” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 17902-17909.
  • V. Percec; A.E. Dulcey; M. Peterca; M. Ilies; J. Ladislaw; B.M. Rosen; U. Edlund; P.A. Heiney. “The Internal Structure of Helical Pores Self-assembled from Dendritic Dipeptides Is Stereochemically Programmed and Allosterically Regulated” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 6516-6521.
  • M. Ilies; A. Scozzafava; C.T. Supuran, “Carbonic Anhydrase Activators” in “Carbonic Anhydrase: Its Inhibitors and Activators”, C.T. Supuran, A. Scozzafava, J. Conway Eds., Taylor & Francis/CRC Press, 2004, pp. 317-352.
  • M.S. Soloff; Y.-J. Jeng; M. Ilies; S.L. Soloff; M.G. Izban; T.G. Wood; G.V.N. Velagaleti; G.D. Anderson. “Immortalization and Characterization of Human Myometrial Cells from Term-pregnant Patients Using a Telomerase Expression Vector” Mol. Hum. Reprod. 2004, 10, 685-695.
  • X. de Leval; M. Ilies; A. Casini; J-M. Dogne; B. Pirotte; A. Scozzafava; E. Masini; F. Mincione; M. Starnotti; C.T. Supuran. “Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors: Synthesis and Topical Intraocular Pressure Lowering Effects of Fluorine-containing Inhibitors Devoid of Nucleophilic Character” J. Med. Chem. 2004, 47, 2796-2804.
  • M. Ilies; M.D. Banciu; A. Scozzafava; M.A. Ilies; M.T. Caproiu; C.T. Supuran. “Protease Inhibitors: Synthesis of Bacterial Collagenase and Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors Incorporating Arylsulfonylureido and 5-dibenzo-suberenyl/suberyl Moieties” Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2003, 11, 2227-2239.
  • M. Ilies; M.D. Banciu; M.A. Ilies; A. Scozzafava; M.T. Caproiu; C.T. Supuran. “Carbonic Anhydrase Activators: Design of High Affinity Isozymes I, II and IV Activators, Incorporating Tri-/Tetrasubstituted-Pyridinium-Azole Moieties” J. Med. Chem. 2002, 45, 504-510.
  • M. Ilies; C.T. Supuran; A. Scozzafava; A. Casini; F. Mincione; L. Menabuoni; M.T. Caproiu; M. Maganu; M.D. Banciu. “Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors: Sulfonamides Incorporating Furan-, Thiophene- and Pyrrole-carboxamido Groups Possess Strong Topical Intraocular Pressure Lowering Properties as Aqueous Suspensions” Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2000, 8, 2145-2155.