Dr. Yoel Rodríguez, Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program 2016-2017, Institute of Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology, Slovak Academy of Science.
Dr. Yoel Rodríguez, a well-known and much-lauded member of Hostos Community College (HCC)’s Natural Sciences Department, is professor of physics and chemistry, and the coordinator of the HCC Joint Dual Engineering Degree program with The City College of New York’s Grove School of Engineering, both at The City University of New York (CUNY).
Yoel is an expert in computational biophysics and medicinal chemistry, and received his PhD in Theoretical Biophysics from the Complutense University of Madrid. He has published more than a dozen peer-reviewed research articles and presented at several conferences. Yoel is also captivated by STEM pedagogical research. He coordinates Hostos programs aimed at improving diversity in STEM disciplines. He has mentored many minority students in research who have earned multiple awards at undergraduate STEM conferences and several have succeeded in earning, for example, PhD from Princeton University, MS from Stanford University and MS from Columbia University.
During his Fulbright stay, he collaborated with Dr. Magdaléna Májeková, an expert in biophysics and medicinal chemistry, on a research that will ultimately contribute to the finding of therapeutic approaches with the potential to target neurodegenerative, muscle, cancer, cardiovascular and heart diseases. The team of chemists, biochemists and structural biologists explored the structure and function of SERCA – transmembrane enzyme - involved in many biological functions. During his stay, they built and developed different protein-lingand-membrane systems such as SERCA-rutin (and rutin derivates) in POPC pure membranes and conducted computer simulations. As a result, Yoel and Magdalena have published a peer-reviewed article “Rodríguez, Yoel, and Magdaléna Májeková. 2020. Structural Changes of Sarco/Endoplasmic Reticulum Ca2+-ATPase Induced by Rutin Arachidonate: A Molecular Dynamics Study. Biomolecules 10, No. 2: 214. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10020214.”
As Yoel says, "My Fulbright experience in Slovakia was amazing, rewarding and reaching, both professionally and personally. A truly transformative journey.” His Fulbright research stay was selected to be a Cover of the CUNY’s Salute to Scholars magazine.
In January 2021, Yoel received a $15,000 CUNY Community College Research Grant to be used in studying coronavirus-related issues. In addition, in 2019, Yoel and his colleagues received a $999,400 National Science Foundation (NSF) award The “Hostos Engineering Academic Talent” (HEAT) Scholarship Program aimed at increasing the number of low-income, talented domestic students who persevere and graduate with associate and baccalaureate degrees in engineering.