It is my distinct pleasure to share the news of Gustavo “Gus” Mondragón obtaining his PhD degree in Theoretical Chemistry. Today he defended his thesis admirably, on his work related to excitonic transfer mechanisms between photosynthetic pigments; part of his results, those related to the dynamical red-shifting absorption Qy bands for Blastochloris viridis were published in the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, the rest of his research is, as of now, pending publication in two further papers.

Gustavo arrived to the lab back in 2014 as an undergraduate student and simply just stayed until the completion of his PhD, which I appreciate a lot; now, he’s off to a postdoc position in Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts at the group of Prof. Sijia Dong where she will now forget about photosynthesis for a while and focus on machine learning techniques.

For the better part of 8 years, Gustavo has joined me in researching excitonic transfer mechanisms in photosynthetic organisms, and has discovered some interesting features of them, not the least of which is their amazing adaptability to different lightning and chemical conditions while using but a few common building blocks for capturing sunlight.

Since Gustavo is the first PhD graduate of our lab, I’m instituting with him a new tradition: Every new doctor coming out of our research group will receive a Chemistry set like the one shown in the picture below.

Good luck, Dr. Mondragón! Ad astra! From here we’ll follow your career with great interest.