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Monica Ilies, PhD

Monica Ilies, PhD

Teaching Professor of Chemistry
Chair, Senate Committee on Academic Affairs
Department of Chemistry
Office: Disque Hall 224

Additional Sites:

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

Curriculum Vitae:

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Research Interests:

  • Development of student-centered learning-teaching activities
  • Implementation/evaluation of active learning and evidence-based teaching/pedagogical strategies
  • Curriculum integrated and applicative content delivery
  • Structure- and fragment-based drug design guided by drug-target biological evaluation
  • Structural characteristics and in vivo roles of metalloproteins connected with physiopathology
  • Spectrometric techniques for structural analysis of small molecules and their supra-molecular assemblies
  • Biochemistry/molecular biology techniques for protein expression, purification, and immunodetection


Prof. Monica Ilies has over 25 years of teaching, curriculum/methodology development, and research experience at different universities, both in Europe and in the United States, with a focus on bioorganic/bioinorganic chemistry and chemical biology. She published one textbook, 2 book chapters, 4 laboratory manuals, and 25 refereed papers.

In 2010, Dr. Ilies joined the Department of Chemistry at Drexel University, where she has been actively involved in the development/application of active learning/evidence-based teaching strategies and assessment/feedback techniques, such as, think-pair-share; "study-buddy"; muddiest point; inquiry-based teaching and learning; reciprocal questioning via comprehension ("explain why") and connector ("connect-the-dots") question stems; integrated and applicative content delivery; and partially flipped classroom. She currently teaches general, organic, and introductory medicinal chemistry courses. In 2016, she developed the first undergraduate medicinal chemistry class at Drexel University, now offered as an interdisciplinary elective.

Dr. Ilies presents her pedagogical work at the American Chemical Society national meetings in the Division of Chemical Education. Since 2019, she has been a member of the national ACS Examinations Institute committees that develop the standardized General Chemistry exams. Since 2013, she has been coordinating the general chemistry service courses (CHEM 101-102) during Fall and Winter Terms (650-1300 students and a team of 20-30 instructors). She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Drexel Teaching and Learning Center; a collaborator of the Drexel Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence; and a mentor for both faculty (CANOPI program) and Teaching Assistants (Certificate in College Teaching and the Graduate Research Fellowship programs).

Dr. Ilies was recognized with numerous teaching and service awards. Her teaching philosophy revolves around a tripartite core: 1) we learn best when we do; 2) we understand the most when we teach and engage; 3) the most effective learning-teaching process is personalized.


  • 2023 American Chemical Society - Division of Chemical Education Travel Award
  • 2022 College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Excellence Award
  • 2021 Barbara G. Hornum Award for Teaching Excellence
  • 2020 Drexel Teaching Academy Award
  • 2020 Drexel Service Recognition Award
  • 2017 Evidence-Based Teaching Award in Undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education
  • 2016 Drexel STEM Education Travel Award
  • 2015 Drexel Service Recognition Award

Selected Publications:

Book Chapters

  • R. K. K. Sanku, O. O. Karakus, M. Ilies, M. A. Ilies (2019): “Inclusion complexes in drug delivery and drug targeting: formation, characterization and biological applications” in “Targeted Nanosystems for Therapeutic Applications: New Concepts, Dynamic Properties, Efficiency, and Toxicity”, ACS Books, Washington, DC, pp. 187-221.
  • M. Ilies; A. Scozzafava; C.T. Supuran (2004): “Carbonic Anhydrase Activators” in “Carbonic Anhydrase: Its Inhibitors and Activators”, C.T. Supuran, A. Scozzafava, J. Conway Eds., Taylor & Francis/CRC Press, pp. 317-352.

Refereed Articles

  • M. Ilies; D.P. Dowling; P.M. Lombardi; D.W. Christianson (2011): “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., 21, 5854-5858.
  • M. Ilies; L. Di Costanzo; D.P. Dowling; K.J. Thorn; D.W. Christianson (2011): “Binding of α,α-Disubstituted Amino Acids to Arginase Suggests New Avenues for Inhibitor Design” J. Med. Chem., 54, 5432-5443.
  • M. Ilies; L. Di Costanzo; M.L. North; J.A. Scott; D.W. Christianson (2010): “2-Aminoimidazole Amino Acids as Inhibitors of the Binuclear Manganese Metalloenzyme Human Arginase I.” J. Med. Chem., 53, 4266-4276.
  • D.P. Dowling; M. Ilies; K.L. Olszewski; S. Portugal; M. M. Mota; M. Llinas; D.W. Christianson (2010): “Crystal Structure of Arginase from Plasmodium falciparum and Implications for L-Arginine Depletion in Malarial Infection.” Biochemistry, 49, 5600-5608.
  • D.R. Herbert, T. Orekov, A. Roloson, M. Ilies, C. Perkins, W. O’Brien, S. Cederbaum, D.W. Christianson, N. Zimmermann, M.E. Rothenberg, F.D. Finkelman (2010): “Arginase I Suppresses IL-12/IL-23p40–Driven Intestinal Inflammation during Acute Schistosomiasis” J. Immunol., 184, 6438-6446.
  • L. Di Costanzo; M. Ilies; K.J. Thorn; D.W. Christianson (2010): “Inhibition of Human Arginase I by Substrate and Product Analogues” Arch. Biochem. Biophys., 496, 101-108.
  • 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 (2008): “Endothelial Arginase II. A Novel Target for the Treatment of Atherosclerosis” Circulation Research 102, 923-932.
  • V. Percec; A.E. Dulcey; M. Peterca; M. Ilies; S. Nummelin; M.J. Sienkowska; P.A. Heiney (2006): “Principles of Self-assembly of Helical Pores from Dendritic Dipeptides” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 103, 2518-2523.
  • V. Percec; A.E. Dulcey; M. Peterca; M. Ilies; M.J. Sienkowska; P.A. Heiney (2005): “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. 127, 17902-17909.
  • M.S. Soloff; Y.-J. Jeng; M. Ilies; S.L. Soloff; M.G. Izban; T.G. Wood; G.V.N. Velagaleti; G.D. Anderson (2004): “Immortalization and Characterization of Human Myometrial Cells from Term-pregnant Patients Using a Telomerase Expression Vector” Mol. Hum. Reprod. 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 (2004): “Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors: Synthesis and Topical Intraocular Pressure Lowering Effects of Fluorine-containing Inhibitors Devoid of Nucleophilic Character” J. Med. Chem. 47, 2796-2804.
  • M. Ilies; M.D. Banciu; A. Scozzafava; M.A. Ilies; M.T. Caproiu; C.T. Supuran (2003): “Protease Inhibitors: Synthesis of Bacterial Collagenase and Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibitors Incorporating Arylsulfonylureido and 5-dibenzo-suberenyl/suberyl Moieties” Bioorg. Med. Chem. 11, 2227-2239.

Laboratory Manuals

  • M. Ilies; E.J. Thorne; S.A. Rutkowsky (2016): “Laboratory Manual: General Chemistry II”, Drexel University, Philadelphia, 94 pages.
  • M. Ilies; E.J. Thorne; S.A. Rutkowsky (2013): “Laboratory Manual: General Chemistry I”, Drexel University, Philadelphia, 106 pages.