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meet Phuture



Dr. David Vassallo

Everyone meet David Vassallo, a third-year graduate student in chemistry! David began his science journey at the University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras where he studied chemistry. During his time in Rio Piedras, David was involved in undergraduate research in Dr. Abel Baerga-Ortiz's biochemistry lab. Under the mentorship of a graduate student in the lab, he researched the synergistic effect of the fatty acid production and structural stabilization of a polyunsaturated fatty acid synthase. His efforts led in corroboration with the lab led to a publication in PLOS ONE, an open source peer-reviewed journal.

After graduating with a BS in Chemistry, David worked in the pharmaceutical industry for a few years as a staff analytical scientist. Realizing the potential to grow in the companies he worked for and his potential to one day become a chief scientist, David decided to pursue graduate school and earn his PhD in analytical chemistry. 

Accepted into the Chemistry Graduate Program at the University of Pittsburg, David began his PhD career in Dr. Rena Robinson's analytical chemistry lab. Besides the research Dr. Robinson does in multiplexing proteomics for the study of Alzheimer's disease in African Americans, David joined her lab because he was drawn to her mentorship style. Only a year into graduate school, Dr. Robinson and the lab relocated to join Vanderbilt University's chemistry department. Now settled into the new lab space, David research project focuses on enhancing multiplexing proteomics to increase the number of distinct peptides samples that can be analyzed at once in a mass spectrometer. 

When the time comes to defend his research and graduate out of the chemistry program, David plans to travel the world for a year before he returns to the pharmaceutical industry. With his new skill set in analytical chemistry, he would like to be a member of the research and development team at Johnston & Johnston. When he is now busy analyzing his samples, David enjoys spending his time cooking, attending art crawls, and hiking to new parks to watch the sunset.