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Ronei Poppi dies of suspected COVID-19

Analytical chemist was known for his contributions to the development of chemometrics in Brazil

by Linda Wang
May 13, 2020

A photo of Ronei Poppi with his students.
Credit: Carlos Diego L. de Albuquerque
Ronei Poppi (center) with his research group in 2014

Ronei Jesus Poppi, 55, died on April 25 in Campinas, Brazil, from complications suspected to be caused by COVID-19. He was a professor of chemistry at the Institute of Chemistry at the University of Campinas and was well known for his research on chemometrics and spectroscopic methods of analysis.

“Ronei’s passing is an enormous loss for all,” says Carlos Diego L. de Albuquerque, a postdoc at the Ohio State University and a former graduate student of Poppi’s. “He was not just an excellent teacher, but also he was a very accomplished researcher, mentor, and a great person.”

Poppi earned a BS in chemistry from the University of Campinas in 1986 and a PhD in chemistry from the same university in 1993. He completed a postdoc with Desire L. Massart at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1996.

His research focused on the use of chemometrics and spectroscopic techniques to develop new analytical methods. His areas of specialty included multivariate calibration, neural networks, support vector machines, multivariate curve resolution, and methods for multimode data processing.

“He always encouraged freedom to read literature and explore our own interests,” says de Albuquerque. “I think all these factors were fundamental for the success of many of his students.”

In a recent interview for the Brazilian Journal of Analytical Chemistry, Poppi said, “I would like to be remembered as that researcher who always tried to escape from the conventional in the field of analytical chemistry and was important in establishing chemometrics in the country.”

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