Projects

Astro­bi­ol­ogy Research in Mexico

In Mex­ico, Astro­bi­ol­ogy is an emer­gent sci­ence that started with the effort of a small group of researchers focused on the study of the ori­gins of life. Dur­ing the last ten years, Astro­bi­ol­ogy has spread in Mex­ico with a new gen­er­a­tion of sci­en­tists fully ded­i­cated to this sci­ence, and aug­mented by researchers from other dis­ci­plines that par­tic­i­pate on spe­cific projects related to this field. SOMA assem­bles most of the researchers in Mex­ico that carry out such research. The fol­low­ing tables show the areas of inter­est of SOMA mem­bers, orga­nized accord­ing to the main areas of their research.

Astro­bi­ol­ogy Research in Mexico

In Mex­ico, Astro­bi­ol­ogy is an emer­gent sci­ence that started with the effort of a small group of researchers focused on the study of the ori­gins of life. Dur­ing the last ten years, Astro­bi­ol­ogy has spread in Mex­ico with a new gen­er­a­tion of sci­en­tists fully ded­i­cated to this sci­ence, and aug­mented by researchers from other dis­ci­plines that par­tic­i­pate on spe­cific projects related to this field. SOMA assem­bles most of the researchers in Mex­ico that carry out such research. The fol­low­ing tables show the areas of inter­est of SOMA mem­bers, orga­nized accord­ing to the main areas of their research.

Research in Astrobiology

Research in
ASTROBIOLOGY

Researcher
(Affiliation)

- Micro­bial biosig­na­tures,
— Morpho-​biological devel­op­ment of micro­bialites.
— Extremophiles from sub­aer­ial hydrother­mal deposits.
— Early life on land.
— Bio­log­i­cal Soil Crusts.

Dr. Hugo Beraldi Campesi
(Insti­tuto de Geología, UNAM)

- Role of min­er­als in chem­i­cal evo­lu­tion.
— Sta­bil­ity of organic mol­e­cules in extreme conditions.

Dr. María Colín Gar­cía
(Insti­tuto de Geología, UNAM)

- Ori­gin and evo­lu­tion of genetic reg­u­la­tion.
— Evo­lu­tion of energy sup­ply via meta­bolic path­ways in extreme organ­isms.
— Evo­lu­tion of com­plex mul­ti­cel­lu­lar organ­isms.
— Ori­gin and evo­lu­tion of viruses and the RNA world.

M. Sc. Irma Lozada Chávez
(Uni­ver­sity of Leipzig, Germany)

- Diver­sity and mech­a­nisms of adap­ta­tion of anaer­o­bic microor­gan­isms in hyper­saline envi­ron­ments.
— Car­bon bio­geo­chem­i­cal cycles under extreme and anaer­o­bic conditions.

Dr. Lilia Mon­toya Loren­zana
(Cen­tro de Inves­ti­ga­ciones Quími­cas, UAEM)

- Chem­istry of plan­e­tary atmos­pheres.
— Mars ana­log sites and life detec­tion on Mars.
— Life in extreme environments.

Dr. Rafael Navarro González
(Insti­tuto de Cien­cias Nucleares, UNAM)

- Phys­i­cal and chem­i­cal prop­er­ties of Titan’s aerosols.
— Extremophiles in the con­text of Europa’s ocean.

Dr. San­dra I. Ramírez Jiménez
(Cen­tro de Inves­ti­ga­ciones Quími­cas, UAEM)

- Plan­e­tary hab­it­abil­ity.
— Remote detec­tion of life.
— Biosignatures.

Dr. Antíg­ona Segura Per­alta
(Insti­tuto de Cien­cias Nucleares, UNAM)

Research in Astronomy

Research Researcher
(Affiliation)
- Galac­tic hab­it­able zones. Dr. Leti­cia Carigi Del­gado (Insti­tuto de Astronomía, UNAM)
- Inter­stel­lar medium, high energy par­ti­cles and their inter­ac­tion with plan­e­tary atmospheres. Dr. Eduardo de la Fuente Acosta (Uni­ver­si­dad de Guadalajara)
- Dynam­ics of plan­e­tary sys­tems in dif­fer­ent galac­tic environments. Dr. Bár­bara Pichardo Silva (Insti­tuto de Astronomía, UNAM)
- Solar Sys­tem minor bod­ies, dynam­ics of plan­e­tary systems. Dr. Arca­dio Poveda Ricalde (Insti­tuto de Astronomía, UNAM)
- Exo­planet char­ac­ter­i­za­tion. — Astrom­e­try and pho­tom­e­try of aster­oids & comets. — High-​Resolution Mid-​Infrared Spec­troscopy of Hydro­car­bons in Jov­ian Atmospheres. Dr. Pedro Valdés Sada (Uni­ver­si­dad de Monterrey)
- Inter­stel­lar medium: plan­e­tary neb­u­lae. — Small Solar Sys­tem bod­ies. — Inverse panspermia. Dr. Roberto Vázquez Meza (Insti­tuto de Astronomía, Ense­nada, UNAM)

Research in Chem­istry and Biology

Research in
CHEM­ISTRY AND BIOLOGY

Researcher
(Affiliation)

- Ori­gins of bio­mol­e­c­u­lar homochi­ral­ity and auto-​replicant sys­tems.
— Rup­ture of chi­ral sym­me­try in crys­tal­liza­tion.
— Kinetic sim­u­la­tions of auto-​catalytic sys­tems.
— Sim­u­la­tions of the pre­bi­otic pep­tides formation.

Dr. Thomas Buhse
(Cen­tro de Inves­ti­ga­ciones Quími­cas, UAEM)

- Iron and sulfur-​based bios­pheres and their biosig­na­tures.
— Hydro­ge­ol­ogy and micro­bi­ol­ogy at active springs.

Dr. Javiera Cervini Silva
(Uni­ver­si­dad Autónoma Met­ro­pol­i­tana, Unidad Cuajimalpa)

- Geo­bi­ol­ogy of micro­bialites.
— Micro­bial sig­na­tures (micro­bial car­bon­ates or bio­geo­log­i­cal signatures).

Dr. Eliz­a­beth Chacón Baca
(Fac­ul­tad de Cien­cias, UANL)

- Evo­lu­tion of min­i­mal gene sets.

Dr. Luis Delaye Arredondo
(CIN­VES­TAV, Irapuato)

- Eco­log­i­cal evo­lu­tion of Bacteria.

Dr. Luis Enrique Eguiarte Fruns
(Insti­tuto de Ecología, UNAM)

- Bio­log­i­cal impli­ca­tions of inverse panspermia.

Dr. Patri­cia G. Núñez Pérez
(Insti­tuto de Estu­dios Avan­za­dos de Baja California)

- Micro­bi­ol­ogy of hydrother­mal vents and anoxic sub­ma­rine environments.

Dr. Elva Esco­bar Briones
(Insti­tuto de Cien­cias del Mar y Lim­nología, UNAM)

- Aquatic micro­bial bio­di­ver­sity in Cua­tro Ciéne­gas, Coahuila Méx­ico.
— Rel­e­vance of the hor­i­zon­tal gene trans­fer in the con­text of the ori­gin of life.

Dr. Vale­ria F. Souza Sal­divar
(Insti­tuto de Ecología, UNAM)

Research in Geo­physics & Plan­e­tary Sciences

Research in
GEO­PHYSICS & PLAN­E­TARY SCIENCES

Researcher
(Affil­i­a­tion)

- Micro­scopic char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of sin­ter deposits.
— Spec­troscopy and min­eral char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of sur­face hydrother­mal alter­ation zones.

Dr. Car­les Canet Miquel
(Insti­tuto de Geofísica, UNAM)

- Petro­log­i­cal prop­er­ties of chondrites.

Dr. Karina Cer­vantes de la Cruz
(Cen­tro de Geo­cien­cias, UNAM)

- Impact cratering and meteors.

Dr. Guadalupe Cordero Ter­cero
(Insti­tuto de Geofísica, UNAM)

- Stel­lar hab­it­able zones.
— Mars geology.

Dr. Héc­tor Durand Man­terola
(Insti­tuto de Geología, UNAM)

- Rings of Sat­urn, dusty plasmas.

Dr. Dolores Mar­avilla Meza
(Insti­tuto de Geofísica, UNAM)

- Geol­ogy of the early Earth and Mars.
— Ori­gin of Life.
— Mars analogs on Earth.

Dr. Fer­nando Ortega Gutiér­rez
(Insti­tuto de Geología, UNAM)

Apen­dix b


The fol­low­ing projects are the result of both per­sonal and insti­tu­tional efforts. Even though SOMA is not respon­si­ble of the orga­ni­za­tion and devel­op­ment of these projects, its mem­bers are involved in a num­ber of them. The present infor­ma­tion comes from the par­tic­i­pants of every project. Although it does not present all the Mex­i­can research done in Astro­bi­ol­ogy, we con­sider it as a good overview of what is cur­rently being done in our country.

Project name

Prin­ci­pal Investigator(s)

Finan­cial sources

start-​end
date

Study about the dust coag­u­la­tion in pro­to­plan­e­tary disks.

Dr. María Dolores Mar­avilla Meza
Insti­tuto de Geofísica, UNAM (This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Pro­gram to Sup­port Research and Tech­no­log­i­cal Inno­va­tion Projects (PAPIIT) – UNAM

20122014

Metage­nomics from a micro­bial mat at Cua­tro Ciéne­gas, Coahuila-​Mexico: a win­dow on the Pre­cam­bric Period.

Dr. Vale­ria F. Souza Sal­divar Insti­tuto de Ecología, UNAM
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

From Mex­ico: National Coun­cil of Cience and Tech­nol­ogy (CONA­CyT) and Sec­re­tariat of Pub­lic Edu­ca­tion (SEP)
From US: Nasa Astro­bi­ol­ogy Insti­tute (NAI) and Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity: Pro­gram “Fol­low the Elements”

20072012

20092013

Knowl­edge and con­ser­va­tion of Churince’s bio­di­ver­sity, Pre­cam­brian park at Cua­tro Ciene­gas, Coahuila-​Mexico.

Dr. Vale­ria F. Souza Saldivar

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Car­los Slim Foundation

20102015

Astro­nomic obser­va­tions at the obser­va­to­ries Kitt Peak and Mauna Kea.

Dr. Pedro A. Valdés Sada
Uni­ver­si­dad de Mon­ter­rey
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Uni­ver­sity of Mon­ter­rey, Mexico

2012

Evo­lu­tion of min­i­mal cel­lu­lar genomes.

Dr. Luis Delaye Arredondo
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

CONA­CyT

20122015

Fac­tors deter­min­ing the vari­abil­ity of bio­di­ver­sity and ben­tic bio­mass under the deep ocean from the Mex­i­can and Cal­i­for­nia Gulfs.

Dr. Elva Escobar-​Briones
Insti­tuto de Cien­cias del Mar y Lim­nolo­gia, UNAM
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Pro­gram to Sup­port Research and Tech­no­log­i­cal Inno­va­tion Projects (PAPIIT) – UNAM

20102012

Methane Hydrates from the Gulf of Mexico.

Dr. Elva Escobar-​Briones

Mex­i­can Geo­log­i­cal Ser­vice (SGM)

2009

Astro­bi­ol­ogy in Mex­ico: Edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties in mul­ti­ple disciplines.

Dr. Rafael Navarro González
Insti­tuto de Cien­cias Nucleares, UNAM (This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Dr. Elva Escobar-​Briones

Pro­gram for Sup­port­ing Projects Related to the Inno­va­tion and Improve­ment in Edu­ca­tion (PAPIME) – UNAM

20092011

Net­work­ing projects: Geo­chem­istry of extreme envi­ron­ments and the search of life on Mars.

Dr. Rafael Navarro González,
Dr. Elva Escobar-​Briones, et al.

CONA­CyT

2004

Apen­dix b table 2

Con­tin­u­a­tion

Project name

Prin­ci­pal Investigator(s)

Finan­cial sources

start-​end
date

Phys­i­cal and chem­i­cal prop­er­ties of Titan’s aerosols.

Dr. San­dra I. Ramírez Jiménez
Cen­tro de Inves­ti­ga­ciones Quími­cas, UAEM
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

CONA­CyT

20032006
20112013

Study of elec­tri­fi­ca­tion phe­nom­ena on plan­e­tary atmospheres.

Dr. San­dra I. Ramírez Jiménez

Pro­gram for Improv­ing of Pro­fes­sors (PROMEP) – UAEM

20022005

Study of the adap­ta­tive mech­a­nisms in bac­te­r­ial halophiles grown in mod­i­fied cul­tures with salts of astro­bi­o­log­i­cal interest.

Dr. San­dra I. Ramírez Jiménez

CONA­CyT
PROMEPUAEM

20072008
20112012

Analy­sis of the Reverse Pansper­mia mech­a­nism: The case of pollen
as a means of inter­plan­e­tary dis­per­sion of bio­log­i­cal material.

Dr. Roberto Vázquez Meza
Insti­tuto de Astronomía, UNAM
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

CONA­CyT

20112014

Sim­u­la­tions of Earth and Exo­planet atmos­pheres on GPUs: A par­al­lel com­put­ing approach using CUDA.

Dr. Dim­i­tra Atri
TATA Insti­tute of Fun­da­men­tal Research, India
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Dr. Eduardo de la Fuente
Dr. Antíg­ona Segura

Uni­ver­sity of Guadala­jara, Mex­ico, TATA Insti­tute of Fun­da­men­tal Research, India, and ICN-​UNAM, Mexico

20132016

Atmos­pheric mod­els of hab­it­able planets.

Dr. Antíg­ona Segura
Insti­tuto de Cien­cias Nucleares, UNAM
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Pro­gram to Sup­port Research and Tech­no­log­i­cal Inno­va­tion Projects (PAPIIT) – UNAM

20092011

For­ma­tion con­di­tions of chon­drules in the pro­to­plan­e­tary disk.

Dr. Antíg­ona Segura
Dr. Fer­nando Ortega-​Gutiérrez
Dr. Karina Cervantes

CONA­CyT and PAPIITUNAM

20112013

Planet Hunt­ing and Aster­o­Seis­mol­ogy Explorer Spec­tropho­tome­ter (PHASES).

Dr. Car­los del Burgo
Insti­tuto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Elec­trónica
(INAOE)
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Dublin Insti­tute for Advanced Stud­ies, Ire­land
National Insti­tute of Astro­physics, Optics and Elec­tron­ics (INAOE)

2009 – to present

Min­er­alog­i­cal, petro­log­i­cal, geo­chem­i­cal and geocrono­log­i­cal study of four Mex­i­can chon­dritic mete­orites and pet­ro­ge­n­e­sis of their chondrules.

Dr. Fer­nando Ortega Gutiér­rez
Insti­tuto de Geología, UNAM
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

CONA­CyT

20032008

Stud­ies of the Ata­cama Desert in Chile and Peru as an ana­log of Mars.

Dr. Christo­pher P. McKay
NASA Ames Research Cen­ter
This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dr. Julio Valdivia-​Silva
Dr. Fer­nando Ortega Gutiérrez

Ames Research Cen­ter, NASA and Insti­tute of Geol­ogy, UNAM

2008 – present

Char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of endolithic cyanobac­te­ria and micro­bial Inter­ac­tions from con­ti­nen­tal set­tings from north­ern and northest Mexico.

Dra. Eliz­a­beth Chacón Baca
Fac­ul­tad de Cien­cias de la Tierra, UANL
(This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Fac­ulty of Earth Sci­ences and Pro­gram to Sup­port Sci­en­tific and Tech­no­log­i­cal Research (PAICyT) – UANL

20062008
2012 – present

Apen­dix b table 3

Con­tin­u­a­tion

Project name

Prin­ci­pal Investigator(s)

Finan­cial sources

start-​end
date

Geomi­cro­bi­ol­ogy of the hydrother­mal springs in Baño San Ignacio.

Dra. Eliz­a­beth Chacón Baca

Project to Sup­port the Research of New Full-​Time Pro­fes­sors (PROMEP) – SEP

20072009

Cyanobac­te­ria in Bio­genic Car­bon­ates of Mexico.

Dra. Eliz­a­beth Chacón Baca

CONA­CyT

20082011

Non­lin­ear Stere­o­chem­i­cal Effects in Asym­met­ric Reac­tions: Ampli­fi­ca­tion of Enan­tiomeric Excess by Chi­ral Autocatalysis.

Dr. Thomas Buhse
Cen­tro de Inves­ti­ga­ciones Quími­cas, UAEM
(buhse@uaem.mx)

CONA­CyT

20002004

Asym­met­ric autoam­pli­fi­ca­tion and chi­ral sym­me­try break­ing: The effect of chi­ral addi­tives in auto­cat­alytic alkylz­inc additions

Dr. Thomas Buhse

Bilat­eral Coop­er­a­tive Agree­ment CONA­CyT and the Cen­tre National de la Recher­ché Sci­en­tifique (France)

20062007

Mirror-​Symmetry Break­ing in Asym­met­ric Reactions.

Dr. Thomas Buhse

CONA­CyT

20072009

Rup­ture of the chi­ral sym­me­try in crystallization.

Dr. Thomas Buhse

CONA­CyT

20122015

Dynam­ics of mete­oroids through Earth´s atmos­phere and recov­ery of mete­orites

Dr. María Guadalupe Cordero Ter­cero.
Insti­tuto de Geofísica, UNAM (This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

CONA­CyT

20122015