Laboratory of Conservation and Dynamics of Volcanic Soils

WORK TEAM

Our team is made up of professionals from different areas of natural resources; Agronomists, Biologists, Biochemists and Biotechnologists.

Dr. Francisco Matus Baeza

Profesor, Director

Professor Francisco Matus is an agricultural engineer and completed his master’s degree at the Pontificia Universidad Católica-Chile (1989) and his doctorate at the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands. Both programs were carried out in plant nutrition, soil fertility, and environmental science. In 2009 he was invited as a postdoctoral fellow by the Carleton University Department of Chemistry and by the Canadian Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food to join a government project to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use for the 2009-2011 farming system. ). His main research interest is the dynamics of soil nutrients and conservation in volcanic soils. He has been working on efficiency in the use of nitrogen and sequestration of carbon and nitrogen in agricultural soils and natural ecosystems. He has experience in the biogeochemistry of the carbon and nitrogen cycle in pristine forest ecosystems, in remote mountain environments and extreme areas such as Antarctic ecosystems. In 2017 he was invited by the Department of Agriculture and Soil Sciences of the Georg-August University, Göettingen, Germany to work on abiotic processes on the sequestration of nitrogen and organic carbon from the soil. Professor Matus has experience in studies of stable isotopes at the rhizosphere level and crop simulation models, has several indexed publications and an extensive network of international contacts and national collaboration with research groups in Germany, Holland, France, Canada, Belgium and New Zealand. Previously, he was Director of the PhD Program in Natural Resource Sciences at the University of La Frontera, whose significant achievements were a national accreditation for eight years (maximum 10) and an international accreditation for five years in the European Union.

Dra. Carolina Merino Guzmán

Investigadora

Dr. Carolina Merino is a Biologist in natural resource management with a master’s degree in Environmental Education from the Catholic University of Temuco and currently stands out as a researcher in the field of microbiology and its interaction with soil mineralogy. She completed her PhD in Natural Resource Sciences in 2015 at the University of La Frontera, whose doctoral thesis was developed at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in France. Since then, his research has been carried out in the Laboratory of Conservation and Dynamics of Volcanic Soils of the University of La Frontera. His career began with the study of the interaction of mineralogy and quality of soil organic matter on the “priming” effect on the carbon balance of forest soils. His current line of research is in the study of biotic / abiotic interactions between microorganisms, plants and minerals that affect the stabilization of organic matter in extreme environments. With a special focus on the redox and biogeochemical dynamics of the soil along chronosequences in subpolar and polar ecosystems. His work involves the use of stable isotopes as tracers and integrators of biogeochemical cycles and molecular techniques to evaluate the diversity and activity of soil microorganisms. She currently belongs to international cooperation networks as Co-researcher in two large EarthShape projects, funded by DFG (German Research Foundation) and is part of the modeling group for adaptation to climate change funded by ESSA (European Space Simulation Association) of the European Earth System Modeling Community.

Dr. Ignacio Jofré Fernández

Investigador Post Doctoral

Dr. Ignacio Jofré is a Biotechnologist with a master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of La Frontera. His area of research is the field of Redox Biology and the interaction with elements that capture reactive oxygen species. In 2019, she completed her PhD studies, which were developed jointly with the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) under the co-supervision of Dr. Mayra Elena Ortiz D Avila Assumpção, allowing her to obtain double graduation in the same house of studies. His scientific career focuses on the biological interaction and function of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in different cell types and matrices, especially in the physiological behavior and relevance of ROS in intra and extracellular communication. Currently, he is developing the Postdoctoral project under FONDECYT (ANID) funding entitled “Biotic and abiotic impact of ROS scavenging by manganese on lignin degradation in temperate rainforest soils”, where he delves into the influence of ROS emitted by soil microorganisms and the competition that it is generated by the oxidation of organic matter (SOM), and biologically active metals such as Manganese. His current interest is to characterize the dynamics of ROS as a non-enzymatic oxidation system that alternately allows the restructuring of extracellular conditions, improving the adaptability of microorganisms under adverse conditions. Dr. Jofré has analytical capabilities in Flow Cytometry, Cell Sorting, Confocal Microscopy and Fluorimetry. During his career, Dr. Jofré has participated in basic science projects (FONDECYT) and technology transfer (FIA, FONDEF, CORFO). Currently, it registers 3 industrial protections (1 National, 1 PCT and 1 Industrial secret), and one of them is in the process of licensing.

Dr. Hector Herrera Echeverría

Investigador Post Doctoral

Dr. Herrera is a Biotechnologist, with doctoral training in Natural Resources Sciences from La Frontera University. His lines of research have focused on Soil Microbiology, Bioremediation, and Conservation of Endangered Species. He is currently dedicated to the study of symbiotic interactions between species, partial and total mycoheterotrophy, with emphasis on the diversity of root endophytic microorganisms, genetic regulations and nutrient transfer between species that colonize the Andean undergrowth. Dr. Herrera has focused his research on native species of the Ericaceae, Orchidaceae, and Corsiaceae families, exploring the mechanisms of symbiotic germination and tolerance to adverse environmental conditions. Specifically, it explores the synergism between mycorrhizae and compatible bacteria that can improve germination and establishment rates in early stages of development in species with conservation problems. He is currently developing applied research in mycoheterotrophy studying: i) the natural abundance of stable isotopes in mycoheterotrophic species; ii) microbial inoculants to contribute to in-situ germination of threatened species; Y iii) mechanisms through which biotrophic fungi contribute to improve the response to stress due to water deficit and heavy metals. He currently collaborates with the Environmental Genomics group of the Vale Technological Institute for Sustainable Development, which works on large rehabilitation projects in areas affected by iron mining in the Amazon rainforest.

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

Daniela Mendoza Cid

Biotecnóloga, , egresada de la Universidad de la Frontera. Currently develops Lab manager activities and management of complex equipment. Support in biological and chemical analysis.

José Parda Larson

Biotecnólogo, egresado de la Universidad de la Frontera. He currently develops activities related to chemical analysis of soil.

Diego Mendoza Cid

Ingeniero Agrónomo, egresado de la Universidad de la Frontera. He currently develops activities related to physical analysis of soil.

DOCTORATE STUDENTS

Karla Erazo Mora

Doctorado en Ciencias de Recursos Naturales, Universidad de La Frontera.

Dalia López Gómez

Doctorado en Ciencias de Recursos Naturales, Universidad de La Frontera.

Rodrigo Castro Salas

Doctorado en Ciencias de Recursos Naturales, Universidad de La Frontera.

MASTERS STUDENTS

Margaux Moreno Duborgel

Estudiante de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Bélgica.

José Parda Larson

Biotecnólogo, egresado de la Universidad de la Frontera. He currently develops activities related to chemical analysis of soil.

BACHELOR STUDENTS

Diego Saavedra

Estudiante de la carrera de Biotecnología, Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias y Forestales, Universidad de La Frontera.

Valentina González

Estudiante de Ingeniería en Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias y Forestales, Universidad de La Frontera.

Javiera Pino

Estudiante de Ingeniería en Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias y Forestales, Universidad de La Frontera.

Isidora Guaiquin

Estudiante de Bioquímica, Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Universidad de La Frontera.

Felipe Paredes

Estudiante de Bioquímica, Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Universidad de La Frontera.

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