Metabolic diversity evolution


More about us:

Dr. Francisco (Paco) Barona Gómez

Principal Investigator

We are interested on the evolutionary and mechanistic aspects -at the genome level- that allowed for the appearance of bacterial metabolism, including its genes, enzymes and metabolites.
We mainly focus in the group of Actinobacteria (e.g. Streptomyces and Clavibacter), but also in other phyla identified after ecological studies (e.g. cyanobacteria), to experimentally and computationally explore evolutionary hypotheses.

Research lines:

  • The evolution of enzyme substrate specificities through comparative enzymology for the study of homologous enzyme families in vitro.
  • Pathway assembly directing the synthesis of novel and complex natural products after biochemical characterization.
  • The potential biological roles of these specialized metabolites through microbial interactions.
  • The evolutionary driving forces behind genome dynamics, metabolic exchange and diversification, leading to niche adaptation, by means of phylogenomics.

Recent projects:

  • "Evolutionary genomics for the sustainable exploitation of microbes from Mexican niches: from biodiversity to application" Royal Society-Newton Advanced Fellowship (2018-2020).
  • "Plant-bacteria co-evolution in the context of phytobiome: the case of the specialized metabolism of bacteria from the order Microccocales in agricultural and wild solanaceous”. Basic Science 2016, CONACYT (2018-2020).
  • "Discovery of new antibiotics through evomining and fitness typing" Texas A&M University - CONACYT, (2017-2018).
  • Technological transfers to national and international companies within the agrobiotechnology and pharmaceutical fields.

Most relevant publications:

Recent publications:

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work team

Dr. Francisco (Paco) Barona Gómez

Principal Investigator

M.Sc. Hilda Erendira Ramos Aboytes

Research Assistant

“Specialist in analytical methods for the purification and identification of metabolites and proteins. My particular interest is the study of metabolomic influence in microbial interactions”

Dr. César Aguilar


“My PhD was about metabolic engineering in the Biotechnology Institute, UNAM. I’m currently working on the reconstruction and characterization of new paths that direct the biosynthesis of natural products in Streptomyces”

Dr. Karina G. Gutiérrez García


“I did my PhD in the Biotechnology Department of Cinvestav, Zacatenco, studying through phylogenomics the endophytic Pseudomonas of Piper auritum producers of 2,4-Diacetilfloroglucinol and its new anti-glycation activity. Now I’m interested in the discovery of new natural products through endophytic Cyanobacteria of the coralloid roots of cycads belonging to the Mexican genus Dioon. My research covers the use of genomics, metagenomics and chemical analytical tools”

M. Sc. Nelly Sélem Mojica

PhD student in Integrative Biology

“I’m interested in genomics, evolution and bioinformatics. I’ve worked in the development of comparative genomic tools. Currently I develop the EvoMining and CORASON tools, the former for the detection of divergent enzymes recruited to secondary metabolism and the latter to investigate the variation of genomic context of said enzymes. I also work in researching the role of enzymatic promiscuity in the evolution of biochemical function using Actinobacteria as a model”

M.Sc. Edder Daniel Bustos Díaz

PhD student in Integrative Biology

“I did my master’s degree @EvoDivMet on Integrative Biology working on the role of nitrogen metabolism in the coralloid roots of the Mexican cycad Dioon edule. Currently I’m collaborating in this proyect, aswell as in a special collection of Frontiers in Young Minds to help bring consciousness about the importance of science in new Mexican generations”

Alan G. Yañez Olvera

Master’s student in Plant Biotechnology

“I’m a master’s student, currently working in phylogenomics of Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis. My research goal is to determine if there are functional ranges clearly related to the lifestyle of this amphibiont”

Ambar Grissel Gomez Diaz

Master’s student in Plant Biotechnology

“For my master's project I seek to implement a strategy for massive mutagenesis in Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis that will allow me to evaluate and determine genes that, during their evolutionary history, have acquired an important role in the interaction of this microorganism with its host, as well as the development of the disease known as bacterial canker in Solanum lycopersicum”