Júlio Terra


I am gay and I am a chemist.//


I grew up in a village in the Brazilian countryside surrounded by mountains and pristine waterfalls, but with a hunger to see the world and explore the opportunities outside of that little town. In 2010 I joined the Chemistry undergraduate program at the University of Lavras (UFLA), also in the Brazilian countryside, where I took a double degree in chemistry and chemistry teaching. During my undergraduate degree I had an exchange period of one academic year at the University of Toronto (Canada). I obtained my M.Sc. at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil) and my Ph.D. at McGill University (Canada), and I’m now a post-doctoral fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland).

As Chemists we hold the power of transforming matter, and as a Green Chemistry, I attempt to harvest this power to make transformations that are compatible with a sustainable development. In Green Chemistry, we use our chemical skills to conceive processes and products that reduce or eliminate toxicity and waste generation, while also keeping in mind chemical efficiency and safety. My expertise in chemistry lies in the design of nanoparticles to can be optimized to improve chemical transformations (catalysis); I can fine tune the shapes, sizes, and compositions of these nanomaterials and customize them to perform specific tasks. Throughout my scientific career I have used this skill to design nanomaterials and studied fundamental concepts on how they can be used to improve chemical transformations in different industries.