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H. Saul Pérez Montaño
H. Saul Pérez Montaño

Chemist & Soil Researcher

Who I am, and What I do
My name is H. Saul Perez Montaño. I received my degree in chemistry. Since 2004, I have been working to research hyper-arid soils in the desert of Joya in Arequipa, and in the Atacama desert of Chile, as a NASA Ames Research Center invited researcher. I am working with Dr Chris Mckay in the Atacama project. My studies involve determining thre presence of organic matter, DNA extraction, and quantification using real time PCR. Currently, I conduct measurements of the geochemical properties of the soils and the measurement of the environmental parameters, for example UV radiation. I am working with the DAPI method of bacterial quantification.

How I first became interested in this profession
I was interested in this profession since my childhood, because I wanted to know more about of the nature of chemistry, math, physics, bioinorganic chemistry, microbiology, as well as reading for understanding. For me it is important to receive knowledge in high school and the university.

What helped prepare me for this job
The courses in the university, like organic chemistry, physical-chemistry and analytical chemistry. When I finished my studies, I started to work in the laboratory as a researcher. I helped advise in investigation projects.

My education and training
I attended elementary education in two schools: first at A 28 Peru BIRF in Azángaro, and then at Jorge Basadre Grohmman Arequipa. I studied chemistry and finished my studies at the National University San Agustín of Arequipa. I began working on investigations in the biotechnology areas and now I work as invited researcher in the biotechnology research center. At the moment I have an administrative job. I am manager of operations in a private company.

What I like about my job
I like working in a team, learning new things, and I want to know "What is life?" I am fascinated by microorganisms in extreme places, from the chemical point of view. This kind of life is very impressive for me, as perfect as the creation of the world.

Saul Perez at San Antonio Mine  Saul Perez in a hyper-arid field environment

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Editor: Brian Day
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated:June, 2006
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