Lydia Contreras

Headshot of Dr. Lydia ContrerasDr. Lydia M. Contreras is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering.  She was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and arrived in New York City in October of 1991.

She obtained a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 2003 and completed her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University in 2008, focusing on engineering bacterial cells for improved production of therapeutic proteins. In 2008, she joined the Wadsworth Research Center (New York State Department of Health) as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, where she worked on understanding mechanisms of infection in pathogenic bacteria. In January 2011, Dr. Contreras  joined the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin as an assistant professor to conduct fundamental research in the areas of RNA characterization and RNA-protein chemistry. Dr. Contreras has received several recognitions, most recently including  a 2009 FASEB Postdoctoral Award, a Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Young Investigator (2011-2013), and named as an Innovative Early-Career Frontiers of Engineering Educator (2011).

Dr. Contreras' favorite thing about her work is "interacting with students, discovering new things and new solutions to important problems".