Pedro Lamothe-Molina, Ph.D. ’17, hopes to continue researching infectious diseases while taking care of patients and racing the occasional triathlon
In 1996, Pedro Lamothe-Molina applied to medical school in his hometown of Mexico City. He easily met all the academic requirements. But when school officials met him for an interview in person, they decided they couldn’t accept him—because he was 12.
“I did include my birthday on the application, but I guess they didn’t notice it,” said Lamothe-Molina.
He did eventually get his medical degree from Facultad Mexicana de Medicina, Universidad La Salle and this month, Lamothe-Molina will receive a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences in Public Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His focus at Harvard Chan has been on understanding the immune response to HIV — in particular, why some people are better than others at fending off the virus.
Home-schooled by his father and several tutors, Lamothe-Molina wanted to study medicine so he could become a doctor like his father and grandfather before him. When that didn’t pan out, Lamothe-Molina decided that engineering would be a good alternative, since he’d always loved math and its applications. Undeterred by his medical school rejection, Lamothe-Molina applied to and was accepted at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.
While in school, Lamothe-Molina focused on engineering projects related to biology. For one project, he designed an electronic device that could measure and record patients’ vital signs. His invention was selected as one of the top 20 in a worldwide competition.