Hey! I am Melchor a molecule hunter using computers, because working here or there my goal is to try to accelerate the discovery of new molecules using computers from different points of view.
I am a highly skilled confident and professional research scientist & consultant as well as an experienced project and science manager, passionate about science writing, communication and dissemination. Not a founder of a company but a co-founder of two nice kids! A guy from a small town of Navarra that now lives in a slightly bigger town of Catalonia, in the greater Barcelona area. I have changed the desert for the beach… although I prefer mountains.
After graduating in biotechnology with a Bachelor’s degree, I decided to pursue an M.Sc. in biophysics. During that year, I was introduced to theoretical chemistry, which I realized was my passion. So I decided to pursue another M.Sc. in theoretical and computational chemistry. During that year, I met Dr. Ramon Crehuet, who become my Ph.D. advisor for the next four years at the Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC-CSIC) in Barcelona.
When I was finishing the Ph.D., it was clear to me that I wanted to do something at the borderline between computational chemistry and, if possible, pharmaceutical research. Luckily, before my Ph.D. defense I started to work at Mind The Byte (MtB), also in Barcelona. MtB was a startup devoted to developing new computational chemistry software for the pharma and biotech industries. We also provided consultancy services, acting as a Clinical Research Organization (CRO) in computational chemistry and cheminformatics and related fields such as bioinformatics. Moreover, MtB regularly participated in regional, national, and Europe-wide funded projects where I acted as a Principal Investigator. I joined the company as a computational chemist and progressed to Scientific Director. In addition to drug discovery, MtB gave me experience in real-world business operations, such as the acquisition of our main national competitor, as well as in project and people management. Moreover, MtB gave me the opportunity of direct my first PhD thesis. Great times indeed!
However, after four years I left Mind The Byte to join Molomics in March 2019 as a Senior Research Scientist in computational chemistry and data science. Molomics is a company that advances the search for structurally new small molecule therapeutics using artificial intelligence (AI) empowered by human knowledge. In Molomics, I looked for candidate molecules to became therapeutic agents against central nervous system (CNS) disorders, mainly Parkinson’s disease. I had a great time there until July 2021 when I left Molomics. In fact, looking behind, I have to say that I have been very lucky with all the job positions I have had. I have enjoyed great times and collected good memories in all of them.
After leaving Molomics, it was clear to me that I wanted to do something for myself. During my time at Mind The Byte, I began to develop an entrepreneurial mindset that grew over the years until it morphed into business ideas. However, I was, and still am, afraid of what it means to run a business, so I decided to do something in between, becoming a freelancer. On 1st September 2021 I created Burua Scientific, the brand through which I offer my professional services as a freelancer. In addition, in March 2022 I also co-founded ByteKem where, also as a freelancer, I (togeter with my colleague Emanuele) try to close the gap in the use of computational tools to discover molecules outside the biotech/pharma industries.
However, Burua took up too much of my time and I could not devote the necessary effort to growing Bytekem. So I took a step aside, and although I still collaborated with Emanuele, I decided to focus solely on Burua Scientific. Finally, a few months later, I decided to completely abandon the freelance route. When I started freelancing I had in mind to set up a small consulting company, but although I would say that I have been successful as a freelancer, I was just acting as a normal employee of other companies. A freelancer instead of a permanent employee, but more or less the same. That was a far cry from my original aspirations.
So 1 year and almost 3 months after starting as a freelancer I returned to the business world by joining Zifo as a Senior Consultant in Cheminformatics. Zifo is a company that helps science-driven organisations innovate through a full range of specialised scientific computing services. Within its portfolio of services, Zifo has decided to strengthen chemoinformatics. This branch is fairly new, within the company, and as I see it right now it is like a blank canvas or a building on the foundations, with a lot of room for new ideas and growth. There is a lot to do. And in this context I hope to be able to help Zifo establish and stabilize this new scientific area. The future looks challenging but also full of fun, let’s see how it goes!
Last but not least, since 2015, I also collaborate with the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, a private university based in Barcelona, in the M.Sc. program in Bioinformatics and Biostatistics, teaching Programming for Bioinformatics as well as directing and evaluating M.Sc. thesis. I really enjoy teaching!