UPR alumnus, Dr. Angel A. Martí, was the plenary speaker at the 50th American Chemical Society Junior Technical Meeting and 35th Puerto Rico Interdisciplinary Scientific Meeting, which was dedicated to Emeritus Professor Waldemar Adam

Dr. Angel A. Martí, a former graduate student of Dr. Jorge Colón in our Department of Chemistry and currently Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Bioengineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas (, was the plenary speaker at the 50th Junior Technical Meeting of the Puerto Rico Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and 35th PRISM held in our campus on March 14.  This joint meeting is the largest student scientific meeting held in Puerto Rico with oral and poster presentations by students in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (STEM) fields.  At this year’s meeting 344 oral presentations by undergraduate students and 77 poster presentations by graduate students were given.  The 50th ACS Junior Technical Meeting was dedicated to Emeritus Professor Waldemar Adam, co-founder of this activity and of our Ph.D. Chemistry program at UPR-Río Piedras.

Dr. Martí, winner of the 2013 Inter-American Photochemical Society Young Investigator Award ( and the 2014 ASP New Investigator Award ( of the American Society for Photobiology, made a presentation titled Changing the Paradigm for the Detection of Biomolecules: a Story of Metals, Light, and Time.

While an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, from 1996 to 1999 Dr. Martí was awarded the Alliance for Minority Participation Excellence award and NIH/SUBE research fellowship. He obtained his BS degree in Chemistry in 1999. In 2004 he obtained his Ph.D. degree from our campus under the supervision of Dr. Jorge Colón, where he held the NSF Graduate Teaching Fellowship in K-12 Education and the NIH-RISE fellowship.  During his Ph.D. Dr. Angel Martí studied the photophysical properties of metal complexes immobilized in layered zirconium phosphate materials. In 2004 he joined Prof. Nicholas Turro’s (at the time considered by many the world’s most renowned photochemist) Research Group at Columbia University as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist, where he worked in the development of fluorescent probes for the detection of trace amounts of DNA and mRNA in vivo and in vitro, ortho-para hydrogen conversion, singlet oxygen deactivation and in supramolecular and nanoscale systems. In July 2008, Dr. Angel Martí joined the Department of Chemistry at Rice University in Houston, with secondary appointments in the Department of Bioengineering and Materials Science and Nano Engineering.

Dr. Martí research group is interested in the design and synthesis of multifunctional molecular constructs for the treatment and diagnosis of amyloid forming diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, in addition to the development of sensors and the in vivo and in vitro detection of DNA and mRNA.  The Martí group uses inorganic chemistry, photochemistry, spectroscopic and molecular biology techniques to study problems in chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, nanotechnology and medicine. Currently Dr. Martí has published over 50 manuscripts, some of the most recent on sensing biomolecules in complex environments, supramolecular photochemistry and carbon nanotechnology.