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Paula Matheus
Graduate Student
San Jose State University

My name is Paula Matheus. I am from Venezuela, where I got my Bachelor degree in Biology at The University of Los Andes (ULA). As an undergraduate student I was involved in a conjoined research study between ULA, NASA Ames and UNAM, about the environmental factors affecting the positioning of the treeline at the High Tropical Andean Mo untain, and its correlation with the microbial life. My thesis work was developed at the same location, but it was focused on the correlation between soil temperature and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) with two metabolic responses from soil microorganisms living above 4750 m.

Currently, I am a graduate student in Molecular Biology and Microbiology at SJSU. I belong to the Environmental Microbiology laboratory led by Dr. Sabine Rech, and together with Elaine Bryant we will be studying soil microbiology along a moisture gradient in the Mojave Desert.

Along my short career, I also have participated in several activities (e.g. Summer internships at Ames Research Center, NAI Microbiology course, Scientific Conferences, field trips to Death Valley, Mojave Desert, Bristelcone Pine Forest, CA, just to name some experiences) that opened my mind to the amazing scientific progress, that has been made to answer the fundamental question I consider the driving force behind my natural interest in science: what is the origin of life?

Since I love to learn about cosmology, astronomy, planetary science and related fields, and my passion is biology at extreme environments, right now I am on the pathway to become an Astrobiologist. At the end, all I hope is to enjoy doing science as much as I have done until now, together with the life I have with my husband Leonardo Hernandez.



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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated:February 2006
Students Contact: Loretta Hidalgo
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe