Dr. Gabriel dos Passos Gomes is involved in cutting-edge work using artificial intelligence to improve chemical reactions – he tells us how he’s inspired by the people around him.
Chemists are on a never-ending mission to discover new reactions and build new molecules that will cure our diseases, power our devices, or halt climate change. A lot of time and effort is spent on reaction optimization, especially when it comes to catalyzed transformations. My work aims to disrupt this paradigm.
Our strategies involve a combination of computational chemistry and artificial intelligence to discover the best catalyst for a desired transformation. Then, we can then test these ideas experimentally to improve our machine learning models. This challenge is such a great motivation for me. Imagine cutting down the time we spend trying to optimize reactions, freeing us to do other, more exciting tasks?
Other people solving difficult problems also inspire me to achieve impossible things. Amongst them, I cite glycobiology guru Professor Carolyn Bertozzi, catalysis innovator Professor Abigail Doyle, and my advisor Professor Alán Aspuru-Guzik along with my colleagues in the Matter Lab, with their groundbreaking pursuit of developing platforms for autonomous materials discovery.
Q: What kind of mindset do you need to achieve the Next Great Impossible?
A: Unbounded curiosity, relentless drive, and an extra dose of helping hands - in my case, from some of the more brilliant scientists I have ever had the privilege of working with.