Cecilia Leal is an Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and is affiliated with the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, since 2012. She received a M.S. in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Coimbra in Portugal and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Lund in Sweden. After working for a year at the Norwegian Cancer Hospital, Cecilia was a Vetenskapsrådet postdoctoral fellow in Materials Science at the University of California in Santa Barbara. Her research interests lie at the intersection of materials science and biology. In particular, she studies the structure of lipids, peptides, and nucleic acid assemblies as means to advance understanding of their function in nature; as well as to design new materials for the delivery of drugs and genes to cells. Cecilia is the recipient of a 2018 UIUC College of Engineering Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, the 2016 NSF CAREER Award, and the 2016 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.