Amaro earned her bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 1999. She spent two years as a staff scientist at Kraft Foods before returning to UIUC for graduate school; she received a Ph.D. in chemistry in 2005 for work with Zaida Luthey-Schulten on computational biophysics. During her graduate work, she also helped develop National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics workshops. After graduation she became a postdoctoral fellow with Andrew McCammon at University of California, San Diego (UCSD)on an NIH Kirschstein-National Research Service Award (NRSA) postdoctoral fellowship.
In 2009, Dr. Amaro started her independent research career in the Deparments of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Computer Science, and Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine. In 2010 she was selected as an NIH New Innovator for her work developing cutting-edge computational methods to help discover new drugs. The following year, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. In 2012, Dr. Amaro opened her lab at UCSD in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Research in the Amaro Lab is broadly concerned with the development and application of state-of-the-art computational methods to address outstanding questions in drug discovery and molecular-level biophysics. Her lab focuses mainly on targeting neglected diseases, Chlamydia, influenza, and cancer, and works closely with experimental collaborators to catalyze the discovery of new potential therapeutic agents. The Amaro Lab is also keenly interested in developing new multiscale simulation methods and novel modeling paradigms that scale from the level of atoms to whole cells, and beyond.
ACM Gordon Bell Finalist