Sunday, March 30, 2014

Frontiers - Editorial Assistant

Update of the last posts (here and here): I am now working as editorial assistant at Frontiers!

So I did it. I quit science. Well, not totally, I quit research but I still have a foot in science!
Frontiers is an academic publisher of peer-reviewed, open access journals. I started working there two weeks ago and I love it! This is great opportunity to discover a totally different world. Working there and working as a researcher is sooooo different!

I will explain in details why working in a company and working in a University is so different, and what I am doing at Frontiers soon!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sentence of the day (5)

"I don't know for you, but my friends are sexually more like birds than bonobos"

This is what Prof. Tamas Szekely said during his talk at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Tamas Szekely is professor at the University of Bath, UK. He is an evolutionary biologist working on sex roles, mating systems and parental care. His talk was "Family life of birds: sex roles, conflict and cooperation". The joke is that even if we are more related to bonobos, our sexual life style is more like birds than bonobos.

A year of weather 2013 in 8 minutes! with the typhoon Haiyan

Cool video compiled by EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) showing day by day the weather of 2013.

The formation of the typhoon Haiyan can be seen on the video at about 6.50, on November 2013.

From wikipedia:

Typhoon Haiyan, known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, was an exceptionally powerful tropical cyclone that devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, in November 8, 2013. It is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record,[1] killing at least 6,201 people in that country alone.[2] Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed.[3] As of January, 2014, bodies are still being found.[4]

  1. Typhoon Haiyan death toll rises over 5,000 (Report). BBC. November 22, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  2. 2^ Jump up to:a b c d "SitRep No. 92 Effects of Typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan)" (PDF). National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  3. Jump upFischetti, Mark (November 27, 2013). "Was Typhoon Haiyan a Record Storm?".Scientific American. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
  4. Jump up4 Joey Gabieta (January 9, 2014). "More bodies turning up in Tacloban"Philippine Daily InquirerAsia News Network. Retrieved January 21, 2014.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I have been working on over the last 9 years

My last post was on December... 2012! time is going well too fast...

I explained in detail my motivation and what interested me in science on my website:

I started to work with AMF (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) in 2005! It's like a long term relationship that I have with those fungi (no it's not disgusting). I really enjoyed working with them because they are so challenging and so interesting. AMF are soil organism that establish symbiosis with the majority of plant species. They basically act as a prolongation of the root system of a plant and take nutrient from soil to give it to the plant. In exchange, plants give carbon product to the fungi. They are good fungi! (well actually not all the time...)

My interest for AMF can be resume in one sentence (question): how and why genetically different nuclei can coexist within a same individual?
AMF have hundreds of nuclei that coexist and those nuclei can be different from each other.. moreover, this genetic diversity is directly transmitted to the next generation, without a reductive stage to one nuclei per cell... how awesome! this is absolutely unique, no other organism has this property. However, this genetic diversity makes genetic studies really complicated! That plus the fact that they take 3 to 4 months and they totally depend on plants to survive (no way to cultivate them in the lab alone) ... not an easy organism to work with

For more detail about my research on AMF please visit my website ( and my CV. And for more detail about those amazing fungi, please visit the website of Ian Sanders, the professor with whom I did my PhD and postdoc:

Here are videos made by Ian Sanders explaining AMF and their genetic:

I am so happy that some of the fungal lines I developed during my PhD are now being used in tropical agriculture in Colombia :)
To know more about their use in Colombia on cassava please read this page:

" Mycorrhizal fungi have a huge potential in tropical agriculture. We apply our research in Colombia and this serves as a model that could be used in many other tropical countries. Agriculture is very important for the Colombian economy. Our research in Colombia focusses on trying to use arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to improve yields of crops and reduce the amount of phosphate that farmers have to add to their crops. In most Colombian soils, farmers (from very large- to small-holders) have to add huge amounts of phosphate fertilizer. This represents one of the largest costs to the farmer in all types of Colombian agriculture. AMF can potentially reduce the necessity for so much phosphate application in many Colombian soils, as long as they are used properly.

The next pages explain some of the work we have already done in Colombia, the successes, and why we now try and use our research on AMF population ecology and genetics to make this even more effective. Our ultimate goal is to reduce poverty and hunger in Colombia; especially in post-conflict regions like Los Llanos. If it works, we hope to apply this model to reduce poverty and hunger in other parts of the tropics.

All our work in Colombia is conducted jointly with Prof. Alia Rodriguez Villate from the National University of Colombia in Bogotá, without whom none of the applied research would be possible. "