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Susana Magalón Puebla, Mexican and college student, attended the US National Academy of Sciences

Susana Magalón Puebla, Mexican and college student, attended the US National Academy of Sciences

• In my case, my tenure as Director of UNAM’s Institute of Biology was considered very positive.
• His line of research combines the study of plant evolution using the fossil record, with information on living species incorporating molecular data and statistical analysis methods.

“It is a very great honour, and it is one of the greatest honors a scientist can have in a career because it means recognition of the academic path and academic work done. Being accepted as an international member, which is a special distinction, since we have been chosen, in addition to the global academic path of the degree, to work which is done in our countries; in my case, they regarded my administration as director of the Institute of Biology very favorably.”

In an interview, he explains that his work is a mixture of two rarely related fields: the study of plant evolution considering deep time (seen through the fossil record), combined with information on living species using molecular data and statistical analytical methods.

“I started doing this as part of my PhD and in a postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA; and this is the line I have continued to develop ever since,” he commented.

Nowadays it has gained a lot of attention and there are many labs in the world that are carrying it out from different perspectives, but they started it a long time ago; It was innovative at the time.

“Now a lot of people are doing research of this kind with techniques that are outside my field of knowledge, which is biology, because they use a lot of math and incorporate very powerful statistical tools,” he explains.

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Magallón Puebla considered it the responsibility he acquires with this distinction to continue with this guiding principle, to be innovative and to bring the kind of analytical methods to the biological sciences that are conducted in Mexico, in particular in the IB, where there are research groups that carry them out. prominently. “But I feel it is necessary to broaden it further, to make it more understood, not only at UNAM, but globally in Mexico.”

Publications in PNAS

As part of her new responsibilities, the scientist will have to write an essay about her field of research. “It is a subject which I have thought out in great detail and which will be published in the most prestigious journal of the institution which distinguishes me, called Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a publication that receives articles on various scientific topics and has a great impact.”

Until a few years ago, for publication in this specialized medium, it was necessary to be presumed or invited by one of the members of the Society. “Currently, the journal is no longer so restrictive and seeking that ASTM members nominate people or have independent researchers submit their work,” he explained.

Magallón Puebla found out about a prospective admission to the American Academy with a call on his cell phone from Texas, which seemed strange to him. I was answered by a well-known researcher in his field, evolutionary biologist David Hillis, who broke the news for me. I was so happy and several emails arrived that I learned that I had been nominated by two different departments of the Academy: Evolutionary Biology, where I am considered Myself is stronger, a plant biologist, and I am a botanist, ”he stressed.

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Scientists Pamela and Douglas Soltis, of the University of Florida, authorities in studies of botany, genetics, use of molecular data and genome evolution, nominated the Mexican academic to the Department of Plant Biology. And for the evolutionary biology department, which was the strongest, the nomination came from a researcher he’s collaborated with in recent decades. His name is Michael Donoghue, research emeritus at Yale University.

“What makes me happy and honored is that I was also nominated by Peter Crane, of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, who was my PhD professor and is a very famous person in the field of plant evolution, especially the evolution of plant form over time,” he said.

The undergraduate biologist will be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences at a ceremony to be held in the United States, in April 2024.