Saturday, April 22, 2006

profile 4: dr. facundo fernandez

This one is for you Melissa ;). Well, after being productive at work (I had to move away from the computer at some point to do research ya know), I came back to get pleasant news. People are enjoying it! Especially Melissa who is now on my committee of finding hot professors. As such, this one is for her.

Dr. Facundo Fernandez is an assistant professor/hot Latin Lover at the Georgia Institute of Technology. As you may know, Georgia Tech has recently had much success with its increase in rankings as of late, and surely if I were on that committee deciding what rankings go where, just seeing him would be good enough justification for at least 10 spot increase in the program. Alas, I'm not on that committee though so I'll just have to be happy with the fact that I and so many others out there find this professor oh so hot.

As with all profiles, we give a section on his research (Melissa, be patient till you scroll down to the picture). His stuff is actually really really neat. He's a bioanalytical chemist focusing using mass spectrometry in order to diagnose and detect diseases in the tropics such as malaria etc by testnig for the presence of certain biological indicators.

His statement on the website is as follows because I couldnt do it justice, it's really fascinating (and I'm nto just saying that cause he's gorgeous).

Research Statement:
"Mass Spectrometry in Tropical Disease Research. Mosquito Peptidomics and Counterfeit Drug Detection: Malaria is the most important tropical disease, remaining widespread throughout the tropics, but also occurring in many temperate regions. Plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan parasite that is injected into the blood stream during the bite of a widespread specie of mosquito (Anopheles gambiae) is the main cause of severe clinical malaria. Several other parasite strains also cause malaria (P. vivax, P.malariae and P. ovale). Dengue fever, another widespread tropical disease, is also transmitted by a particular mosquito species (Aedes aegypti). Mass Spectrometry has many analytical advantages that can be used in tropical disease diagnosis, prevention and research. In this trend, we are collaborating with Prof. Fernando Noriega from Florida International University in the study of novel ways of controlling the malaria and dengue fever mosquito transmission vectors through the functional proteomic analysis of the mosquito neuroendocrine system. To date, there are no effective vaccines to prevent malaria in humans. Prevention and treatment of malaria thus still depends on potent antimalarial drugs. In recent years, large numbers of counterfeit antimalarial drugs have been detected. In collaboration with researchers from the CDC and from the Oxford University-Wellcome Trust program in SE Asia, we are working on producing molecular signatures of such counterfeits using direct atmospheric-pressure ionization methods based on Desorption Electrospray Ionization and Penning ionization with metastable He atoms. These rapid screening techniques not only allow us to screen for the expected active ingredients but also to chemically fingerprint counterfeit samples in order to track their origin.

Environmental Mass Spectrometry. Study of the Biogeochemical Cycling of Fe: Plankton plays a crucial role in the Earth's life dynamics; this tiny organisms lie at the bottom of the aquatic food chain, and its fate is thus thought to have deep implications in global climate change. Iron, among other trace metals, is an indispensable nutrient for the production of plankton, the most abundant marine organism. Because iron is extremely scarce in surface seawater, it is thought to occur almost exclusively bound to complex ligands of biological origin. While exquisitely sensitive, existing field analysis techniques for organic-bound metals are unable to resolve the nature of the ligands. Mass Spectrometry is one of the key analytical methods used to identify and characterize small quantities of biological molecules embedded in complex matrices. Although MS has found widespread use in laboratory applications, technical improvements in instrumentation are needed to extend its application to the grand challenges that face the environmental sciences. In collaboration with Stanford University and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography we are developing instrumentation based on high resolution Ion-Mobility Spectrometry-Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (IMS-TOF-MS) for investigating poorly understood aspects of the iron biogeochemical cycle such as: (1) the role of Fe in the photochemical reactivity of surface water Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter (CDOM); (2) the influence of Fe complexation by tetrapyrroles in its role as a micronutrient in marine systems; and (3) study of the biogeochemical fate of iron associated with heme and iron-sulfur moieties in metallo-proteins. In this trend, we are developing key component of the proposed MS technology such as MEMS Bradbury-Nielsen ion gates and monolithic resistive glass ion mobility drift tubes for fast analytical separations.

Mass Spectrometry in Pathogen identification and Counterterrorism: Accurate and rapid bacterial identification is important in diagnosing disease, assessing public health and bioterrorism prevention. Many studies have shown that matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is a promising technique for the fast identification of whole microorganisms. Generally, two approaches have been adopted for microorganism identification. The most robust and time-intensive approach relies on the sequencing of protein biomarkers using MS/MS-based proteomic techniques. A faster, complementary approach relies on pattern recognition of the protein biomarker fingerprint obtained by MALDI. In this direction, we are collaborating with Dr. John Barr and Dr. Hercules Moura from CDC Atlanta to develop new identification schemes for Coxiella burnetii, the pathogen causative of Q-fever. These methods are based on Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis and MALDI TOF MS and allow us to rapidly distinguish between different C. burnetii strains. In collaboration with Prof. Andrei Fedorov and Prof. Levent Degertekin from the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech we are developing alternative strategies to MALDI-based microorganism identification based on a novel Array of Micromachined UltraSonic Electrospray emitters ("AMUSE")." - Facundo Fernandez

As you can see from his faculty profile, he's quite attractive. He's an assistant professor fresh out of his postdoctorate which means he's still quite young (YAY!). Like with the earlier profile, what draws me to him is the eyes. He has a pretty confident smirk on his lips though he doesnt smile fully..guess he wants to remain all mysterious (which is perfectly fine with me).

I dont know much about him other than his work, which is rather unfortunate. However, I do have a friend who was able to visit GaTech during grad school visits and from what I've heard he's rather nice (like professors usually are) and is really interested in recruiting students. If you know more, please feel free to comment below!

Now for his final score!

Facundo Fernandez is a piquin!


grad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
grad said...

Ok - some more info
His hobby - rock climbing (at least was so in the past). He also likes to swim and he can dance (He is Latin)
and yes he IS hot

Mei-Ling said...

Dr. Fernandez was so amazing. I heard his seminar yesterday when he came to Florida State. A phenomenal speaker. The way he talked about Mass Spec and what he is going to do with DART, DESI, ESI, etc was amazing. He is naturally hot, but his mind is so amazing. I was so impressed.

Lindsey said...

I met Facundo at ASMS this year. I was the program assistant for the session he chaired. He is extremely attentive, intelligent and DELICIOUS. Definately a hot latin lover.

Lauren said...

I attend Georgia Tech and he was my professor. He is married (sorry ladies!) and recently had a baby with his wife this semester. :)