Dr. Felix Ritort
Small Biosystems Lab, Universitat de Barcelona
Measuring binding affinities using force methods.
Dr. Felix Ritort carried out his PhD during the years 1989-1991 in theoretical physics in the area of statistical physics. During the years 1992-2002 he made several contributions to the field of disordered systems and nonequilibrium physics. Since 2002 he worked in single-molecule biophysics by manipulating individual nucleic acids and proteins to investigate energy processes in the molecular world. Ritort’s group is recognized worldwide as leader in applying the finest and most powerful methods to extract accurate quantitative information about thermodynamics and kinetics of molecular interactions. Dr. Ritort has been awarded several prices for his research: the Distinció de la Generalitat de Catalunya in 2001 for his theoretical research during the years 1991-2000; ICREA Academia Award 2008 for his research as scholar at the University of Barcelona; Premio Bruker 2013 from the Sociedad de Biofísica de España for his contributions to molecular biophysics research in Spain. He is also chaor of the Division of Physics for Life Sciences of the European Physical Society.
My scientific research is highly multidisciplinary at the frontiers of physics, chemistry and biology. My lab is a worldwide reference in combining theory and experiments to investigate the thermodynamics and nonequilibrium behavior of small systems using single molecule methods. I apply the finest concepts and tools from statistical physics to extract valuable information about a wide range of molecular processes: from the energetics of nucleic acids to the kinetics of formation of molecular aggregates induced by drugs or the elasticity of antigen-antibody bonds in the immune system. A recurring theme in my research is the understanding of how molecular systems embedded in highly noisy environments outperform the efficiency of macroscopic systems: being small has key advantages that nature has fruitfully exploited. Recently I have directed my interest to the discovery of the principles that govern the emergent complexity of evolutionary ensembles in the molecular and cellular world.