My path started in Colombia exploring the physiology and metabolism of coral, algae and sponge bacterial isolates. These first steps in Colombia led me to the study of bacterial dysbiosis in coral diseases under the supervision of Prof. Catalina Arévalo and Prof. Luis Fernando Cadavid with the collaboration of Prof. Katharina Riedel at the Helmholtz Institute for Infection Research (HZI). My short visits to Germany encouraged my enrollment to the M.Sc./Ph.D. International Max Planck Research School of Marine Microbiology in Bremen. During my time in Bremen, I investigated coral reef planktonic bacterial diversity associated with increases in dissolved organic carbon. This project fast developed into my Ph.D. thesis in the frame of the collaboration between the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) and KAUST under the supervision of Dr. Astrid Gaerdes and Prof. Christian Voolstra. My Ph.D. thesis was focused on the role of algal exudates on bacterial-mediated coral reef degradation by promoting virulence expression. I returned to KAUST as a post-doctoral research fellow with the goal of getting a better understanding of coral reef microbes.
I am interested in further applying cutting-edge computational methods to understand microbial interactions in coral reefs. Some of the projects I am currently involved are:
● Exploration of functional features of coral-associated bacterial populations
● Bacterial and viral mediation of coral larval settlement