From the Blog

Growing up on a big swath of land in Puerto Rico, Jesús Dones-Monroig had been always playing in the wild. He was urged to grow, build, and explore the surroundings around their house. His father even took him on sea going spearfishing, in which he developed a fascination for marine life. He credits countless his fascination of nature to their moms and dads, whom encouraged Dones-Monroig along with his siblings to play outside.

“[My moms and dads] why don’t we be absolve to do whatever we wanted available to you. They gave us the freedom with an concept and have fun with things outside to really make it happen,” claims Dones-Monroig.

Eventually, this affinity aided by the normal world would contribute to Dones-Monroig’s desire for biology and organic chemistry. He proceeded to study chemistry at University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras and had been particularly motivated by his natural chemistry professor, Ingrid Montes, to appreciate the world via a molecular amount.

Now a fifth year PhD pupil into the Department of Chemistry, Dones-Monroig works when you look at the lab of Ronald Raines, the Roger and Georges Firmenich Professor of Natural Product Chemistry, and studies collagen mimetic peptides, or “CMPs.” Dones-Monroig has continued to develop a CMP that can selectively anneal with damaged collagen. At this time, he is focusing on optimizing his newly created CMP to aid detect mammalian collagen who has suffered damage. As time goes on, he hopes to build up a method that selectively anneals to different kinds of damaged collagen.

As substance biologist, Dones-Monroig additionally works on artificial biochemistry tasks, from developing synthetic peptides through natural biochemistry to synthesizing faster and much more discerning organic molecules for “click biochemistry.”  

“That’s the reason why I favor research when you look at the Raines Lab,” Dones-Monroig claims, “You’re not limited to one area of biochemistry.”

Promoting variety and inclusion

Dones-Monroig is just a family-driven, community-oriented person, and being to date from home features motivated him generate connections and organizations at MIT. He additionally seems highly that without right help, pupils can’t totally understand their potential in their educational and professional pursuits.

While following his masters in substance biology at University of Wisconsin at Madison, Dones-Monroig was associated with programs that advertise variety and inclusion. Coming to MIT, he thought there was clearly insufficient assistance for underrepresented and underserved graduate and undergraduate pupils at the Institute. With the help of teacher and previous head of Department of Chemistry Tim Jamison, as well as people within the feamales in Chemistry (WIC) team together with Chemistry scholar scholar Committee (CGSC), Dones-Monroig founded the Chemistry Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion (CADI).

Established in 2018, CADI seeks to support the prosperity of underrepresented and underserved graduate and undergraduate pupils within the biochemistry department and to simply help make sure the university has safe, comprehensive, and supporting surroundings for pupils. The team facilitates conversations about the condition of diversity in neuro-scientific biochemistry and provides pupils with expert and academic sources. Finding community in graduate college is just like important because the classes one takes or the abilities one acquires, Dones-Monroig states.

“If we are maybe not given help in a personal degree, our academic and expert potential will probably be right impacted. CADI is actually for anybody that does not feel part of the biochemistry division,” he claims.

Dones-Monroig also serves as a pod frontrunner for MIT Summer Research system (MSRP), a program that aims to advertise the value of graduate training and improve analysis enterprise through increased diversity in MIT.

“The students which come to the system tend to be astounding. They’re really smart and driven, nonetheless they might not have equivalent sources as MIT inside their home universities. So we welcome all of them,” states Dones-Monroig.

Continuing along with his penchant for mentorship, Dones-Monroig will serve as a graduate resident advisor (GRA) during the MIT Student home. He will be described as a mentor into the international undergraduate and graduate pupils that stay there.

Healthier systems, healthy minds

Beyond their analysis, Dones-Monroig remains very energetic and enjoys recreations. He plays on MIT’s intramural baseball team, in which he additionally enjoys volleyball, playing tennis, and searching. Maybe most impressively, he participates when you look at the Spartan Races, that are events that range in total and show many different real obstacles. Next month, he will be doing an Ultra-Spartan Race on Killington Peak in Vermont, where he’ll proceed through 60 hurdles throughout 30 miles.

For Dones-Monroig, exercise allows him to lessen anxiety while focusing on one thing aside from their study. He attributes their a healthy body, mentally and actually, to staying energetic. This mindset is from his 61-year-old parent, whom still tries to run races against him, Dones-Monroig jokes.

“If there is a mentality of maintaining your human body because healthy as your mind, you’ll become more effective. I train my head into the lab and emerge and train my body outside,” claims Dones-Monroig.

While Dones-Monroig obviously works hard, he plays difficult too, and wants to dance salsa regarding the vacations. With pals that he made inside regional Puerto Rican neighborhood, Dones-Monroig goes out to dancing and socialize at Los Angeles Fábrica in Central Square.

“I think I’m decent at salsa,” Dones-Monroig laughs, adding, “compared to non-salsa dancers, then I’m good!”