I graduated from the Faculty of Science, University of Málaga (Spain) in 2005 with a Licentiate Degree in Chemistry, equivalent to MSci (Hons) in the UK, with the option of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. During my final year I undertook a research project in synthetic chemistry using Trialkylboranes as New Alkylating Agents of Imines.
In 2010, I started my PhD under the supervision of Prof. Rich Pancost and Prof. Richard Evershed at the University of Bristol, where I am tracing the fate of Prokaryotic Lipids in Sedimentary Environments at Early Stages of Diagenesis.
Organic matter on Earth is a central component of biological cycles. The various processes that occur upon the death of organisms generally leads to its conversion back into primary inorganic constituents. There are certain mechanisms, however, that allow this organic matter (OM) to be preserved, either chemically and/or biologically altered or largely intact. The fact that organic matter is preserved has invaluable consequences for mankind. It affects climate due to the intimate relationship of OM degradation to the production of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4. And, of course, those processes that account for OM preservation are also the mechanisms that lead to the formation of all fossil fuels, including peat, coal and petroleum, which in turn are the foundation of the global economy.
The goal of my current research is to enhance our understanding of how organic matter is preserved in a sedimentary environment over geochemical time. A relevant amount of OM is preserved via formation of insoluble geomacromolecules, which constitute significant organic carbon pools on Earth. I am studying the fate of prokaryotic lipids such as Branched Fatty Acids, Hopanoids, Archaeol and Glycerol Dialkyl Glycerol Tetraethers, among other diagnostic structures, with a particular focus on tracing their incorporation into these geomacromolecules. To support the analytical lab work I am applying instrumental techniques such as Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry, FTIR Spectroscopy and solid-state 13C-NMR.