EN: Microbiomas Foundation is an independent non-profit research initiative established since 2015 in Colombia aiming to advance and disseminate cutting edge knowledge and innovative applications of life sciences discoveries. It has a staff of expert scientists in microbiome research, environmental biotechnology, genomics, transcriptomics, clinical microbiology, probiosis, biochemistry, metagenomics focused on natural resources restoration, climate change , evolutionary emergence of functions arising from human impacts, environmental sustainability and valorisation

ES: Microbiomas Foundation (Asociación Fundación de Investigación Microbiomas Inc. +) es una iniciativa independiente sin ánimo de lucro establecida desde 2015 en Colombia con el propósito de servir al interés público en el desarrollo de proyectos de investigación para avanzar el conocimiento básico y aplicaciones derivadas con un personal científico de formación superior en temáticas de ecología microbiana, microbiología ambiental, biotecnología, genómica, transcriptómica, microbiología clínica, probiosis, bioquímica y metagenómica concentrada en temas como la restauración de recursos naturales, cambio climático, emergencia evolutiva de funciones derivadas de impactos humanos, sostenibilidad ambiental y valorización de recursos ecosistémicos.


Recent publications (2016-2018)

Garcia-Bonilla E, Brandčo  PFB, Pérez T, Junca H. Stable and enriched Cenarchaeum symbiosum and Uncultured Betaproteobacteria HF1 in the microbiome of the Mediterranean sponge Haliclona fulva (Demospongiae: Haplosclerida).
2018. In review. Revision submitted to Microbial Ecology (Springer). Preprint available.

Villegas-Plazas M, Wos-Oxley M, Sanchez JA, Pieper DH, Thomas OP, Junca H.
Microbial diversity and metabolite profiles associated with the marine sponge Xestospongia muta at different depths across two seasons in the Port of Portobelo, Panama. 2018. Submitted to Microbial Ecology (Springer). Preprint available.

Avellaneda-Torres LM, León-Sicard TE, Galvez EJC, Junca H, Torres-Rojas E. Impacts of potato cultivation and livestock on the diversity of the microbial community (V5-V6 regions of 16S rRNA) found in Neotropical high Andean Páramo soils in Nevados National Natural Park (NevadosNNP), Colombia.
2018. Submitted to CATENA (Elsevier). Preprint available.

Tibatá VM, Junca H, Sánchez A, Corona M, Ariza Botero F, Figueroa J.
Molecular detection of Melissococcus plutonius assessed in Africanized honey bee populations (Apis mellifera) in three regions of Colombia. Journal of Apicultural Research. 2018 Mar 7:1-7.

Tibatá VM, Arias E, Corona M, Ariza Botero F, Figueroa-Ramírez J, Junca H.
Determination of the Africanized mitotypes in populations of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) of Colombia. 2018. Journal of Apicultural Research. Mar 15;57(2):219-27.

Villegas-Plazas M, Figueroa-Ramírez J, Portillo C, Monserrate P, Tibatá V, Sánchez OA, Junca H. Yeast and Bacterial Composition in Pot-Pollen Recovered from Meliponini in Colombia: Prospects for a Promising Biological Resource. In Pot-Pollen in Stingless Bee Melittology 2018 (pp. 263-279). Springer, Cham. Ed:
Vit P, Pedro SR, Roubik DW. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-61839-5

van de Water JA, Melkonian R, Voolstra CR, Junca H, Beraud E, Allemand D, Ferrier-PagŹs C.
Comparative Assessment of Mediterranean Gorgonian-Associated Microbial Communities Reveals Conserved Core and Locally Variant Bacteria. Microbial Ecology. 2017 Feb;73(2):466-478. doi: 10.1007/s00248-016-0858-x. Epub 2016 Oct 10.

Pinzon EH, Sierra DA, Suarez MO, Orduz S, Florez AM. DNA secondary structure formation by DNA shuffling of the conserved domains of the Cry protein of Bacillus thuringiensis. BMC Biophys. 2017 May 22;10:4. doi: 10.1186/s13628-017-0036-7

Van De Water JA, Melkonian R, Junca H, Voolstra CR, Reynaud S, Allemand D, Ferrier-PagŹs C.
Spirochaetes dominate the microbial community associated with the red coral Corallium rubrum on a broad geographic scale. Nature Publishing Group. Scientific Reports. 2016 Jun 1;6:27277.
Arbeli Z, Garcia-Bonilla E, Pardo C, Hidalgo K, Velásquez T, PeĖa L, Ramos E, Avila-Arias H, Molano-Gonzalez N, Brandčo PF, Roldan F. Persistence of pentolite (PETN and TNT) in soil microcosms and microbial enrichment cultures. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 2016 May 1;23(9):9144-55

Amit, I., Baker, D., Barker, R., Berger, B., Bertozzi, C., Bhatia, S., Biffi, A., Demichelis, F., Doudna, J., Dowdy, S.F. and Endy, D., 2016. Voices of biotech. Nature Biotechnology, 34(3), p.270.

Junca H. Introduction to Primer-Based Detection of Microbial Genes, Particularly Those Encoding Enzymes for Aromatic/Aliphatic Hydrocarbon Biodegradation. Encyclopedia of Hydrocarbon Biodegradation. 2016 Springer
Gálvez EJ, Carrillo-Castro K, Zárate L, Güiza L, Pieper DH, García-Bonilla E, Salazar M, Junca H. Draft genome sequence of Bacillus licheniformis CG-B52, a highly virulent bacterium of Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), isolated from a Colombian Caribbean aquaculture outbreak. Genome Announcements - ASM. 2016 Jun 30;4(3):e00321-16


We are collaborating with national and international governmental agencies, institutions and industrial sectors as scientific research, education and consulting experts in microbial bioremediation, environmental biotechnology, ecogenomics and functional metagenomics by studying microbiomes composition, functions and interactions in open environments and in holobiont associations


 Our team is a group of highly skilled and enthusiastic scientists (PhD) able to perform research at the forefront of biological sciences, using molecular techniques for microbial description, valorisation and genetic programming towards improved quality of life and sustainability or Earth’s living organisms and ecosystems. While doing so, we are actively contributing to train a new generation of life science researchers and strengthening international scientific cooperation for advancing microbial biodiversity exploration

+ Research Group Microbial Ecology: Metabolism, Genomics & Evolution - Diversity, Ecogenomics & Holobionts - Microbiomas Foundation

* This research group has been classified in top category "A" in the latest official science ranking by the National Agency for Science & Technology of Colombia - Colciencias, considering number of active members, type and quantity of scientific production, completed supervised theses and dissemination activities
More info +


Howard Junca, PhD - Scientific Director
  Howard Junca
Microbiologist (Universidad de los Andes), Biologist (Universidad Complutense), PhD in Biological Sciences (TU Brunswick, Germany), Senior Scientist (Colciencias): Research interests: Metabolic networks evolved in microbial communities for xenobiotic contamination bioremediation, DNA barcoding for biodiversity/population genetic studies, retrieval of metagenomic functions for biodiversity valorization, microbial composition and functions in extreme environments. Details at: www.howardjunca.com

Erika García, PhD - Research Scientist
Microbiologist (Universidad Javeriana), MSc in Microbiology - Biotechnology (Universidad Nacional de Colombia), PhD Biology (Universidad Nacional de Colombia). Research topics: Ecogenomic studies of symbionts and functions harbored in marine sponges.

Marcela Villegas, cPhD - Research Scientist
 Marcela Villegas
Microbiologist (Universidad Javeriana), MSc Biological Sciences (Universidad de los Andes), PhD Student Environmental Engineering (Universidad del Valle). Research topics: Models of microbiome adaptation to strong environmental/host selective pressures. 

Victor Manuel Tibatá, PhD - Research Associate

 Victor Manuel Tibata
Veterinary Medicine Physician/Surgeon DVM (Universidad Nacional de Colombia), MSc in Microbiology (Instituto de Biotecnología), PhD in Veterinary Sciences (Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá). Research topics: Molecular diagnostics of viral, bacterial, parasitic veterinarian diseases, Bee population genetics and health.

Álvaro Flórez, PhD - Research Associate

          Alvaro Florez
Bacteriologist & Clinical Laboratory Diagnostics (Universidad Católica de Manizales), MSc (Universidad Javeriana), PhD Basic Biomedical Sciences (Universidad de Antioquia). Research topics: synthetic biology for directed evolution, protein engineering, molecular fungal systematics.

Luisa Villamil, PhD - Research Associate

Marine Biologist (Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano), PhD in Marine Biology and Aquaculture  (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela). Research topics: Bacterial Probiotics, Fish Immunology, Aquaculture.


For inquiries (scientific collaboration, media information): info@microbiomas.org