Mary Jo Ondrechen


I am queer and I am a chemist.//


I am a Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and lead the Ondrechen Research Group (The O.R.G.) at Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. My research deals with understanding enzyme catalysis, inventing methods to predict the function of newly-discovered proteins, developing design principles for novel enzymes, and the computational aspects of drug discovery. Some of my current projects include using machine learning to interpret data from genomes, understanding how amino acids become highly reactive in enzymes, and studying the protein targets of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and of other infectious diseases. A member of Mohawk Nation and an advocate for STEM diversity, I was the 2011-2013 Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and am a co-PI on the 2014-2024 AISES project “Lighting the Pathway to Faculty Careers for Natives in STEM,” an initiative to provide guidance and support to Native STEM students who want to become faculty members at colleges, universities, and tribal colleges. I also co-direct an Inclusive Excellence project at Northeastern University. In 2021 I was on sabbatical leave as a Fulbright Faculty Research Fellow at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, performing research on a cancer-associated kinase.