In 1997, Dr Ritort was appointed associate professor of physics at the University of Barcelona (UB) and he became a full professor in 2007 in the area of Condensed Matter Physics. He is the director of the Small Biosystems Lab, conducting research and teaching in the Department of Fundamental Physics. Since 2014, he has served as chairman of the Division of Life Sciences in Physics for the European Physical Society.
He started his research in the area of spin glasses under the direction of Prof G. Parisi at the University of Rome (Italy) in the nineties. He defended his PhD thesis at the UB in 1991 under the supervision of Prof M. Rubi. He has also worked in the fields of structural glasses and glass transition, non-equilibrium aging dynamics, synchronisation models and quantum phase transitions. In 2005, he created the Small Biosystems Lab at the UB with the goal of researching non-equilibrium fluctuations in molecular systems using single-molecule experiments in biophysics. Today his group is world renowned as a leader in applying the best, most powerful methods to extract accurate quantitative information on the thermodynamics and kinetics of molecular interactions.
His scientific research is highly multidisciplinary, at the interface of physics, chemistry and biology. More precisely, his interest has focused on the area of statistical physics with special emphasis on the study of disordered systems and non-equilibrium dynamics. Over the past ten years, Dr Ritort has invested a lot of effort into setting up an experimental lab to conduct ground-breaking research in the field of molecular biophysics as a way to explore the fundamental principles underlying the fascinating complexity of biological matter, where energy and information are inextricably linked. Research in this area has got a boost from the advent of micromanipulation tools and nanotechnology, as well as the possibility of conducting experiments on the level of individual molecules.