Hugo feature image

At DENSsolutions, we persistently challenge ourselves to develop the most innovative and outstanding solutions that you need to advance your research. This continuous yet passionate pursuit has been led for years by our Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Hugo Pérez, a longstanding pillar within this company. He has played a critical role in positioning DENSsolutions as a global leader in the field of in-situ TEM, and bringing home the Microscopy Today 2020 award. 

In this latest addition to DENSsolutions Meet the Team series, we interview Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Hugo Pérez, so you can learn all about his diverse educational experiences and wild backstory.

Where it all started

“My name is Hugo Pérez and I’m 35-year-old proud Mexican born in the beautiful city of Chihuahua. Although I was raised in Mexico and it holds a special place in my heart, I have lived in 7 countries around the world including the USA, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.

“I’ve always said that my passion is MEMS and nanotechnology, my obsession is biology, but my heart lies within business management.” – Dr. Hugo Pérez 

When deciding what to study early on in my life, I was doubting whether to go for medicine or engineering. After much deliberation, I decided to go for the latter as I realized that I could later on in my career apply the developed technical skills for medical devices and healthcare purposes. I obtained my BSc in Mechatronics Engineering at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico. It was during my bachelor’s studies, and especially during my time in Canada and Germany, that I was introduced to the world of nanotechnology and realized that there was nothing more I wanted to do. I was amazed by the wide scope of possibilities in which this disruptive technology could be used. So, I started discussing with my supervisors, expressing my intention of specializing in micro/nano-mechatronics, with the aim of one day having the knowledge to develop electromechanical systems at the molecular scale for biomedical purposes. Funnily enough, I was partly inspired by the movie Fantastic Voyage, where a submarine and its crew were shrunken to microscopic size and injected into the bloodstream of a scientist in order to save his life.

Stream-LPEM-system-Microscopy-Today-2020-Innovation-award-400x250

Stream LPEM system wins the Microscopy Today 2020 Innovation award

 

A conversation with our CTO Dr. Hugo Pérez who has been leading the development of the award-winning system.

The first of many MSc degrees

“Coincidentally, both my supervisors in Canada and Germany, who didn’t know each other, gave me the exact same advice: to pursue a MSc in Molecular Bioengineering at TU-Dresden, in Germany. But before doing so, I had my first professional experience working within the industry, where I spent a bit over 1.5 years working as an Automation Engineer at GCC, a large cement company in Mexico. This job gave me a lot of exposure to chemistry and material science, and allowed me to discover much more about the power of using nanomaterials like carbon nanotubes. As you can imagine, this experience only grew my desire further to specialize in nanotechnology.

“From that point onwards, and for the next many years, I would be spending most of my time inside the cleanroom, learning all kinds of processes and tips & tricks to manufacture nanodevices.”

So, after this rewarding experience, I took my supervisors’ advice to heart, and jumped back to Germany to start my first (of three) Master’s degree. Studying molecular bioengineering gave me the opportunity to learn about molecular biology and all kinds of exciting applications in genetics and proteomics. However, as interesting as it was, I was still missing the engineering side that would allow me to design and manufacture nanodevices. This is precisely why I moved to Sweden to pursue a second MSc degree in Nanotechnology at the Chalmers University of Technology. It was thanks to this second MSc degree that I properly got immersed in the world of NEMS/MEMS and micro/nano-fabrication. From that point onwards, and for the next many years, I would be spending most of my time inside the cleanroom, learning all kinds of processes and tips & tricks to manufacture nanodevices.”

Hugo image with illustrations

Mission impossible

“After finishing my second MSc, and given the fact that this was all very intense, I was prepared to go back to the industry with the aim of slowly starting to move towards a highly ranked management position in a high-tech company. However, destiny had something else prepared for me. I ended up getting a PhD position at TU-Delft in the Netherlands. Although pursuing a PhD was not part of the plan, I couldn’t deny this opportunity given the fact that the project was exactly what I was looking for. Not only that, but my promotor would be Dr. Urs Staufer, a remarkable scientist who led NASA’s Phoenix Mars Mission and developed the first nanosensor for planetary science able to measure the presence of water molecules on Mars. I took this opportunity as a great chance to learn from one of the best.

“At a certain point I was working in parallel on two different PhD projects while simultaneously pursuing an MBA.”

To make the story more complicated, another opportunity came up to pursue a third Master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Cumbria. Of course, I didn’t hesitate to jump on this considering my goal has always been to become a successful businessman. However, destiny still had another surprise for me: the appearance of another PhD project on graphene manipulation. Therefore, at a certain point I was working in parallel on two different PhD projects while simultaneously pursuing an MBA. This complete academic experience, which was extremely demanding, forced me to become a very structured and time-efficient person. This is partly the reason why I’ve won the best scientific paper on a number of occasions at prestigious international conferences.

Now, at DENSsolutions, I’m trying to exploit all these experiences to the most, not just to lead the company on the right technological path, but also to bring the business to a higher level. I enjoy acting as a coach to my colleagues and ensuring there’s always something they can learn from me. From a commercial perspective, what I enjoy the most is pitching our technology to convince people of our solutions, as well as trying to close new deals. It excites me that researchers all over the world in a wide variety of applications rely on our advanced technologies to conduct their research. Keeping the right balance between business and science is what has allowed me to strengthen my international network, and what has given me the possibility to be in contact with global industrial leaders and some of the greatest scientific minds in the community.”

Thank you for reading this article! If you would like to ask Hugo any questions, whether it’s about his education, experience or knowledge, please don’t hesitate to contact him via the form below

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