Pablo's research and teaching areas Tlaloc, Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City

Academic and employment history

Undergraduate and PhD work
Benijos beach, Anaga, Tenerife, Canary Islands. Ucanca, Cañadas National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands.
I grew up in the Canary Islands, Spain, and graduated as a biologist from the University of La Laguna in Tenerife. It was during this period that my interest in natural history awoke (see this wonderful images of Canarian nature and you may understand why). My awareness about environmental issues, and my interests in evolution, ecology, molecular plant-microbe interactions and symbiosis were also borne at this time. I obtained my PhD (1994-1998) from the Faculty of Biology at the University of Marburg (Germany), in the group of Prof. Dietrich Werner (summa cum laude, 1998) in molecular genetics of the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis. For my PhD work I was first the recipient of a DAAD scholarship (1994-1996), and latter (1997-1998) got an EU-TMR fellowship.
Post-doctoral research
Panoramic view of the old-town of Marburg, Germany
I made post-doctoral research (1998-2001) at the Universities of Marburg in Germany, Leiden in the Neatherlands with Prof. Herman Spaink and at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Germany. During this period I continued to work on different aspects of the molecular biology of Rhizobium-legume interactions.
Appointments at CCG-UNAM
It's great here at UNAM's campus Morelos in Cuernavaca. It's great here at UNAM's campus Morelos in Cuernavaca.
I've been working at the Center for Genomic Sciences (formerly Centro de Investigación sobre Fijación de Nitrógeno, CIFN) from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) since October 2001. I started at CIFN as an Assistant-Professor in the group of Dr. Esperanza Martínez Romero, head of the Program of Ecological Genomics, and currently hold a position as a Professor of Environmental and Evolutionary Microbiology (Investigador Titular B de TC, SNI-II, Pride D) in the Program of Genome Engineering. I've been the Institutional Responsible of the PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences from July 1st, 2009 - August 2013.


Research (Google Scholar)

Along with my collaborators, we have shown the importance of combining phylogenetic and population genetic approaches using multilocus sequence data for bacterial species delineation. We have several highly cited publications on this issue that demonstrate the use of multilocus sequence analysis in bacterial evolutionary genetics, systematics and biogeography (+).

I've worked mainly with simbiotic legume nodule bacteria, collectively known as rhizobia (+). I'm an elected member of the Subcommittee on the taxonomy of Rhizobium and Agrobacterium and the webmaster of its official web site.

During my PhD and post-doctoral research I discovered several novel symbiosis-relevant loci of Rhizobium etli KIM5s (plasmid-borne LPS O-antigen biosynthesis locus) and R. tropici CIAT899, some of which are orthologs of virulence genes, or required for stress tolerance (+).

I'm now moving into the fields of phylogenomics and molecular ecology. Along with my colleague Bruno Contreras-Moreira, we are developing bioinformatics tools for molecular microbial ecologists and systematists, such as the primers4clades web server (+).

My new research projects are combining computational genomic analyses with empirical studies of microbial ecology and evolution, focusing on rhizobial communities from Mexican tropical forests and environmental mycobacteria and enterics from heavily polluted Mexican rivers. Visit my research page to find more detailed information on these projects.



I'm actively involved in teaching courses on molecular evolution, phylogenetics and bioinformatics for graduate and undergraduate students at the UNAM (LCG and different PhD programs such as the PDCBM) and other Mexican Universities, as well as internationally [Workshop on Molecular Evolution at Woods Hole, MA, USA (2004) ; University of Puerto Rico, USA (2005); ICGEB/UNU-BIOLAC Theoretical Course on Evolutionary Genomics in Integrative Biology, Pátzcuaro, Mi. Mexico (2006); Cursos y Talleres de Verano sobre Biología Filogenética y Evolutiva, Cuernavaca (2007), Course on molecular phylogenetics for bacterial systematics, University of Lavras, Minas Gerais, Brasil (2007), 1er Curso de Filogenética y evolución molecular - UANL, Monterrey, NL, México, Jun. 08, Introduction to phyloinformatics, University of Seville, Spain (June 2011), Curso Internacional IVIC-CLAB-UNESCO sobre Análisis Molecular y Filogenético de Comunidades Microbianas, Venezuela 2013]. I've posted most of the teaching material on different pages.

I'm the coordinator, webmaster and a faculty member of the Latin American Workshop on Molecular Evoution (TLEM). It is an intensive, 2 week-long workshop which I'm regularly organize in Cueravaca every January.

Visit the Phylogeny Tutorials, Teaching and course materials and Tutoriales y cursos de bioinformática y filogenética en español and TLEM pages to access to the course or tutorial materials (English and Spanish).