Herminia Loza-Tavera, Ph.D.

Title
Professor
Department
Department of Biochemistry
Institution
National Autonomous University of Mexico
Address
Facultad de Quimica
Conjunto E, Edificio de Bioquímica y Farmacia
City
Mexico City
Country
Mexico
E-mail
hlozat[at]unam.mx
Website
http://bioquimicafq.fquim.unam.mx/Herminia_Loza.html
Research Field
Genetics
Award Year
1994
Country Of Origin
Mexico
Mentor Name
Wilhelm Gruissem, Ph.D.

Research

Dr. Loza-Tavera has worked on post-transcriptional control of gene expression in chloroplast for 15 years, however her research interest in the last five years has moved to find, identify and characterize, microorganisms able to degrade man-made materials, like plastics. Polyurethane (PU) is a very versatile plastic developed 50 years ago, which use has increased because of its resistance and lasting durability. However, all its advantages have become a problem since large amounts of waste are being produced and slowly destroyed. Re-cycling and chemical treatments are possible, but they are not completely efficient. A new and “green” approach is to try to isolate microorganisms able to attack PU. Dr. Loza-Tavera and her laboratory colleagues have isolated bacterial strains able to use PU as sole carbon source. Their goals are to find and characterized the enzymatic activities and other proteins responsible for this capacity, to study and analyze the genes encoding them, as well as to develop biological systems with increased polyurethanolytic activity.