Jonah Marks

"I truly get to explore the field and see how different factors influence my programs."

Hometown: Fairfield, Iowa 

Year: Second-year PhD student

Program:  Chemical Engineering

Mission Areas: Environment and Energy

Lab: Gomes Lab

Advisor: Joe Gomes, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

What brought you to the Iowa Technology Institute? 

I joined Dr. Gomes's research group, which is a part of ITI.

Describe your research and how it is intended to improve our world.

My research focuses on using deep learning to perform quantum chemistry calculations and molecular simulations. By using deep learning we can perform accurate calculations at a low computational cost, which allows simulation of larger systems. This in turn will hopefully lead to discovery of new materials and pharmaceutical compounds.

What do you enjoy most about your research? 
I can try pretty much whatever idea pops into my head. I truly get to explore the field and see how different factors influence my programs.

What achievements are you most proud of? 
My biggest achievement to date has been getting my BSE in chemical engineering. I worked in at least one lab at a time for the last two years and held a job throughout all of undergrad.

Who is your mentor and what have you learned from that person?

My mentor is Dr. Gomes. I have learned almost everything I know about my field from him. I joined the Gomes Research Group my senior year of undergrad and loved it so much that I stayed for grad school. I also have learned a great deal from Dr. Gomes about how to be successful as a grad student while keeping a work-life balance. He is a fantastic and supportive mentor.

What are your goals for the future? What do you hope to be doing professionally in 10 years? 

My long-term goal is to start my own company. I think that my research could be translated into software for molecular property optimization, which would be valuable in fields like pharmaceuticals.

What activities are you involved in outside ITI and the College of Engineering?
I spend a lot of time taking care of my 20 house plants, weightlifting, and rock climbing.