Advisory Board

Dr. Regina R. Monaco

Regina R. Monaco, Ph.D. is Research Fellow at Ronin Institute. She is a theoretical chemistry researcher focused on using computational methods to model dynamic and thermodynamic properties of macromolecular bio-complexes, including DNA and ligand (drug)/DNA interactions.

She is using machine learning techniques and thermodynamic approaches such as entropy measures to aid in deconvolution of signal information (EEG, fMRI, spike-trains) generated from the human connectome to discover wide-ranging functional correlations. She also focuses on using computational dynamic models of small neural networks to study emergent characteristic properties of these networks.

Regina is also Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Brain Backups, where she is using computational modeling of the small biological neural networks which includes characterization of recurring motifs in networks of various scales, dimensionality, and interconnectedness.

For two years, until August 2018 she was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai Health System.

Regina started her career in 1981 as Undergraduate Researcher at State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she collected, recorded, and interpreted patient data on stress and arousal and studied the promoter region of SV40 and genetic replication fidelity. After two years, she continued her work as a researcher at Hunter College, before she became Aaron Diamond Postdoctoral Research Fellow at New York University in 1993, where she continued her research for the next six years.

She began with Molecular Dynamics of bacteriorhodopsin at Syracuse University as Senior Researcher in 1999, all the while she was the Visiting Senior Researcher at University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was doing Simulations of the signal transduction proteins ras-p21 and rap-1a.

After Chicago, she became NASA Ames Associate at NASA Ames Research Center and stayed there for the next 4 years.

In 2012, Regina ended her 19 year commitment to Columbia University in the City of New York, where she worked first as Associate Research Scientist and later as the Senior Research Scientist. She was focused there on theoretical research of the dynamics and mechanistic interactions of macromolecular complexes, including drug/DNA complexes and DNA repair protein systems.

On January 2013, Regina became the Visiting Senior Scientist at Lehman College where she studied the metabolic pathway for biosynthesis of carotenoids, focusing on the mechanistic and biological functions of the enzyme phytoene synthase (PSY-1). For the next two years, she also worked as Researcher at Baruch College, Hunter College, and MetaMed Research Senior Health Researcher, before she became CSO at Brain Backups.

Regina earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and her Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry and Biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin.

Currently, Regina is working on modeling large complexes including work on the DNA repair complex THIIH, from which the effect of specific mutations on the structure and activity of the XPD subunit were determined based on conformational changes observed in polymorphic forms of this subunit, and modeling of enzymes in the carotenoid pathway to understand control features of robust pathways which result in the dynamic production of novel secondary metabolites in eukaryotes.

She carried out molecular simulations of the mobility of covalently tethered bulky porphyrins attached to the termini of DNA octamers, 3D structural predictions of small RNA prebiotic polymers (< 100-mers), and studies on the structure and function of luminescent biomolecules, focusing on GFP-related molecule.

In general, Regina’s focus is on theoretical neuroscience, AI, information theory, graph theory, complexity, self-organizing systems, emergence, systems biology, machine learning, connectomics, physical chemistry, metabolic pathways, networks, DNA, RNA, computational chemistry, molecular biology, and theoretical chemistry.

Visit her LinkedIn profile, contributions, and University of Texas Academia profile. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. View her publications at ResearchGate and Google Scholar.