GSN Profile: Pablo Ramos, Doctoral Student, Chemistry
Rutgers Graduate School-Newark
Office of the Dean
Visit: 175 University Avenue, Conklin Hall Suite 241, Newark, New Jersey 07102
Phone: (973) 353-5834
How does energy move through biomolecules? There are well-established theories on this topic dating back to the 1950s, but only in more recent years have labs acquired the computer power needed to model and test these theories on more complex systems. For instance, proteins and DNAs are big molecules, and doctoral candidate Pablo Ramos came to RU-N to look at them.
Hailing from Bogota, Colombia, Ramos majored in chemistry at the “Universidad Distrital” (District University of Bogotá). After graduating he taught chemistry both in public schools and private tech institutions.
In 2011, Ramos traveled to Puerto Rico to attend the World Chemistry Congress. There, he was introduced to a researcher who, the following year, connected him to Professor Michele Pavanello. Ramos likes Pavanello’s research goals and the way he was going about his work, so he decided to apply to the Graduate School- Newark’s chemistry program.
Ramos’ subject area is “transport properties” – i.e. studying the conductivity of molecules. Most of his research entails simulated computer experience based on quantum mechanics.
If you’re wondering about the practical application of this topic, Ramos offers this example: A person standing outside in the Sun runs the risk of absorbing too much UV light, creating radical cations (holes) which can damage DNA. However, through study we’ve learned DNA moves that positive charge along the DNA backbone to fend off a TT mutation (which leads to cancer). By better understanding this process, we may better understand skin cancer and its prevention.
The transport mechanisms of protein molecules are also not yet well understood, and Ramos’ research
also has implications for creating batteries with longer life and green energy solutions.
He looks foward to completing his doctorate in spring 2017.