As a researcher I am interested in multidisciplinary research to achieve a profound understanding of ecological systems as a complex. My first degree is on chemical engineering, and I have a PhD in Biotechnology, with specialization in microbial ecology and molecular biology. During my scientific formation I was exposed to diverse fields ranging from clinical analyses and development of industrial processes, to molecular biology applied to the analysis of mammalian and environmental systems. My work in these mentioned fields provided me with an insight to understand and analyze chemical reactors, microbial isolation, tissue culture of mammalian cells, imaging by Atomic Force Microscopy, and microbial characterization. My research interests include the characterization of microbial systems from different environments, such as soil and insects, and the understanding of their interactions in metabolic processes. As a postdoctoral researcher I am working with two different systems: the coffee berry borer and the Passalid Beetle. The coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) is the most important coffee pest across coffee producing countries. My research objective is to characterize the beetle’s microbiome as part of a biogeography analysis and to search for the mechanisms that allow the beetle to tolerate toxic levels of caffeine. Better understanding of the metabolism of the coffee berry borer may lead to development new environment-friendly biocontrol strategies.
The Passalid Beetle (Odontotaenius disjunctus) is a wood-feeding beetle that survives on a low nutrient diet due to symbiotic relationships with its gut microflora. In this system we apply multi-scale techniques to characterize the physiology of the insect, associated microbial communities, screening of functional genes, and characterization of wood transformation, N2 fixation, and H2 production with the idea of future application in the development and optimization of industrial biofuel processes. Read more about this project here.