My research career has been focused on the study of molecular biology of filamentous fungi, particularly on the molecular mechanisms that regulate gene expression. Most of my research has been focused on basal Mucoral fungi, which has been poorly studied at the molecular level because their difficulties in handling.
I studied Biological Sciences in the University of Murcia, where I got my PhD in 1994 with a research project supervised by Professors Francisco Murillo and Santiago Torres-Martinez at the Department of Genetics and Microbiology of that University. That PhD work studied the regulation of the acetate metabolism in the fungus Phycomyces blakesleeanus. Then, I did a postdoctoral stay at the laboratory of Prof. Paul Tudzynski (Institut für Botanik Botanischer und Garten, Wilhelms-Universitat Wesfäliche, Münster, Germany) working on a project aimed at the identifying pathogenicity factor from the fungus Claviceps purpurea. After that postdoctoral stage, I joined the research group "Genomics and Biotechnology Molecular of Fungi" of the Department of Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Murcia, of which I am Professor since 1999.
My research within the research group "Molecular Genomics and Biotechnology of Fungi" have focused primarily on issues related to the regulation of gene expression in the fungus Mucor circinelloides
, although I have also worked with other groups or companies working with different fungi (Fusarium oxysporum and Trispora Blakesleea). Most of my work aims for the characterization of the molecular mechanisms controlling light responses in Mucor. We have identified a number of key genes of these regulatory mechanisms, which have proved to be extraordinarily complex. At present, we are using massive sequencing strategies to identify endogenous small RNAs involved in these regulatory mechanisms. Besides my work on basic research, I also study the production of biodiesel using microorganisms, having demonstrated the direct transformation of Mucor mycelial lipids, without previous extraction, into high quality biodiesel that meets European and American standards.