Maru Sandoval M.Sc. – Our First Graduate Thesis

It is with great pride that I’d like to announce that for the first time we have a Masters Student graduated from this Comp.Chem. lab: María Eugenia “Maru” Sandoval-Salinas has finished her graduate studies and just last Friday defended her thesis admirably earning not only the degree of Masters of Science in Chemistry but doing so with the highest honors given by the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Maru’s thesis is for many reasons a landmark in this lab not only because it is the first graduate thesis published from our lab but also the first document on our work about the study of Photosynthesis, a long sought after endeavor now closer to publication. It must also be said that Maru came to this lab when she was an undergraduate student five years ago when I just recently joined UNAM as a researcher fresh out of a postdoc stay. After getting her B.Sc. degree and publishing an article in JCTC (DOI: 10.1021/ct4004178) she now is about to publish more papers that I’m sure will be as highly ranked as the previous one. Thus, Maru was a pioneer in our lab giving it a vote of confidence when we had little to nothing to show for; thanks to her hard work and confidence, along with that of the students who have followed her, we managed to succeed as a consolidated research group in the field of computational chemistry.

More specifically, her thesis centered around finding a mechanism for the excitonic transference between pigments (bacteriochlorophyl-a, BChl-a) in the Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) complex, a protein trimer with seven BChl-a molecules in each monomer, located between the antenna complex and the reaction center in green sulfur bacteria. Among the possible mechanisms explored were Förster’s theory, a modification to Marcus’ theory and finally we explored the possibility of Singlet Fission occurring between adjacent molecules with the help of Dr. David Casanova from the Basque Country University where Maru took a short research stay last autumn. Since nature doesn’t conform to any specific mechanism -specially in a complex arrangement such as the FMO- then it could be possible that a combination of the above might also occur but lets just wait for the papers to be published to discuss it. Calculations were performed through the TD-DFT and the C-DFT formalisms using G09 and Q-Chem; comparing experimental data in CH3OH (SMD implicit calculations with the SVWN5 functional) were undertaken previously for selection of the level of theory.

Now, after two original theses written and successfully defended, an article published in JCTC and more in process, at least five posters, a couple of oral presentations and countless hours at her desk, Maru will go pursuit a PhD abroad where I’m sure she will exceed anyone’s expectations with her work, drive, dedication and scientific curiosity. Thank you, Maru, for all your hard work and trust when this lab needed it the most, we wish you the best for you earn it. You will surely be missed.

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About joaquinbarroso

Theoretical chemist in his late thirties, in love with life and deeply in love with his woman and children. I love science, baseball, literature, movies (perhaps even in that order). I'm passionate about food and lately wines have become a major hobby. In a nutshell I'm filled with regrets but also with hope, and that is called "living".

Posted on April 27, 2016, in Alumni, Computational Chemistry, Photochemistry, Photosysnthesis, Quantum Mechanics, Science, Spectroscopy, TD-DFT, Teaching, Theoretical Chemistry, Thesis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Fernando Cossio

    Dear Dr. Barroso, Great news! Congratulations from the University of the Basque Country. All the best, Fernan

    Prof. Dr. Fernando P. Cossío Kimika Organikoa I Saila / Departamento de Química Orgánica I Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea Avda. Tolosa 72 Edificio Korta 4ª Planta 20018 San Sebastián / Donostia Spain Phone: +34 943 01 5442 E-mail: fp.cossio@ehu.es

    Fernando P. Cossio Ikerbasque, Basque Foundation for Science Scientific Director Maria Diaz de Haro, 3 E-48013 Bilbao, Spain

    From: “Dr. Joaquin Barrosos Blog” Reply-To: “Dr. Joaquin Barroso’s Blog” Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:37:38 +0000 To: Subject: [New post] Maru Sandoval M.Sc. ­ Our First Graduate Thesis

    WordPress.com joaquinbarroso posted: “It is with great pride that I’d like to announce that for the first time we have a Masters Student graduated from this Comp.Chem. lab: María Eugenia “Maru” Sandoval-Salinas has finished her graduate studies and just last Friday defended her thesis admirab”

  2. Congratulations to Maru and the lab!!

  3. Congrats…For You and Maru!!

  4. Congrats…dear. Prize the Lord

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