Research Scientist / Lab Manager
Originally from Minas Gerais, Brazil, I came to the U.S. to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Ecology. A passion for the outdoors led me to study unique ecosystems in pristine Arctic and Andean lakes, freshwater streams in Brazil and Venezuela, hotsprings and deserts in Chile, and hypersaline lagoons in Mexico. I joined the Microbial Ecology / Biogeochemistry Lab in the Exobiology Branch at NASA Ames Research Center in 2009.
I am interested in understanding the biogeochemical process of microbial communities in natural systems to answer questions of relevance to the field of Astrobiology, and to develop technologies for Earth and Space applications. One of the projects that I’m working on involves investigating methane as a biomarker on Earth, which requires an understanding of the mechanisms behind methane production in microbial systems in order to characterize biogenic methane and distinguish it from non-biological sources of methane based on d13C and d2H isotopic values and methane/ethane ratios. Another project involves metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analysis of microbial communities to assess community diversity, gene expression and metabolic pathways involved in biohydrogen production and nitrogen-fixation processes.