Juan Camilo Rojas Echeverri

I’m a Panamanian born passionate scientist with the goal of contributing to society through my research. I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida State University (Tallahassee, USA) in 2013 where I had training as a Biochemist but developed skills in organic synthesis and photochemistry in Dr. Igor Alabugin’s lab while collaborating on the synthesis of a light activated cancer specific DNA-cleaving drug.

I started my involvement in mass spectrometry research in 2014 while working as a Mass Spectrometry Technician at INDICASAT AIP (Panama City, Panama) where I collaborated in: the search new prospects of antibiotics, anti-fungicides, and insecticides relevant to the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries; chemical profiling of metabolic expression associated to tree leafs to understand species adaptation in tropical regions of Panama; species identification with protein profiles using MALDI; MALDI Imaging of bacteria growth assays; and lipid biomarker discovery in blood samples to detect latent tuberculosis in the region of Colon in Panama.

I decided to improve my technical knowledge by performing postgraduate studies at The University of Warwick (Coventry, UK) where I obtained a M.Sc. in Molecular Analytical Science. I had the opportunity of working in two different projects with industry. A project in statistics with Syngenta to assist decision making in seeds genetic batch purity assays titled “Statistical clustering for decision support: comparison and ranking of cluster quality to evaluate differences between data sources”. And a project in detection of reactive oxidized species of a cancer drug using FT-ICR MS titled: “Oxidized AZD6738, an enzymatic or non-enzymatic product? Identification of oxidized AZD6738 ions with accurate mass measurement, isotopic simulation and IRMPD MS/MS using FT-ICRMS”.

I have found my niche in applied science using analytical chemistry techniques (mainly mass spectrometry) to answer biological questions. Specially interested in disease related questions for which I feel lucky of now forming part of the MASSTRPLAN project as a PhD fellow at Universität Leipzig (Leipzig, Germany) where I will be focusing in detection of oxidative post translational modifications (oxPTMs) in search of correlation with lipoxidation in order to find characterize and quantify site specific modifications that can be used as biomarkers for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.