Baiz Earns Prestigious Research Fellowship

September 9, 2022 • by college of natural sciences staff writer

Carlos Baiz, associate professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded the prestigious Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers from the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation.

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Carlos Baiz, associate professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded the prestigious Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers from the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation.

The fellowship provides resources for scientists to conduct research in Germany and collaborate with experts in Germany and from across the world. Those chosen for the fellowship will conduct research at German universities and institutions over the course of six months to two years.

Baiz's research program at UT Austin focuses on studying biological molecules and their structures using methods such as infrared spectroscopy. This research explores how biomolecules behave generating insights into biological function at the molecular level and could be used as a basis for future biomedical technologies. He will spend a semester at Freie Universität Berlin to get hands-on experience with a new imaging technique making waves in the biophysical chemistry field, nano-infrared (nano-IR) spectroscopy. This recently developed specialized technique is being applied at only a few labs in the world, including the one at Freie Universität Berlin. The technique works similarly to conventional spectroscopy tools but has the capability of imaging samples with nanometer spatial resolution. This allows scientists to see both the structures of the cell and their chemical composition.

"It's a new instrument with really amazing capabilities," Baiz said. After the fellowship, Baiz plans on using the experience he gained in Germany to develop time-resolved nano-IR spectroscopy capabilities here at UT Austin. He also looks forward to meeting and collaborating with students and researchers in Germany and from other parts of the world. Because a different set of Humboldt Fellowships is available for postdoctoral scientists in Germany who are willing to serve in the labs of former Humboldt faculty fellows, Baiz also sees it as an excellent recruitment opportunity. "There's this really talented pool of Humboldt postdoc fellows, and my lab will be able to serve as a host for this program."