Navigating the unexpected:
an interview with Hector Hernandez
Tell us about your current career position.
I am an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi. Research at MIST focuses on developing technologies that will provide real-world solutions on sustainability and clean energy.
My laboratory focuses on studying the role soil microbes play in the global cycling of carbon dioxide (CO2). Soils store a significant pool of CO2. Understanding (1) which specific microbial communities, (2) what metabolic pathways are involved, and (3) how these communities respond over spatial and temporal scales are crucial for the development of management strategies and technologies aimed at the capture and long-term storage of CO2.
Prior to coming to Masdar, I worked as a postdoctoral associate in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I led a team of graduate and undergraduate students in the characterization of microbial communities isolated from a carbon sequestration injection site.
I started my education at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Fla. I received my bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of South Florida and my Ph.D. in chemistry from the MIT. During my graduate work, I studied redox regulation pathways in microbes living in extreme environments.
What are the key experiences and decisions you made that have helped you reach your current position?