Oscar Pineda-Catalan

I was born in Mexico City where I did my undergraduate studies in Biomedical Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. During my last year of college I started teaching Biology and Human Anatomy and Physiology courses at “Logos” High school. I taught in this wonderful school for seven years and I can say with certitude that my experience working there was highly enriching. As a result, I decided to pursue a professional career where I could combine scientific research with teaching activities. While I was teaching and immediately after finishing college I studied a masters program in Urban Environmental Studies at “El Colegio de Mexico.” This gave me the opportunity to explore social aspects related to environmental sciences, such as economy, geography, public policy studies, and demography, among others. After finishing my master studies and working for three years in Mexico, I looked for a PhD program where I could combine my expertise in biological and social sciences in a conservation effort for protecting endangered species. Fortunately I found in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program at Columbia University the right curricula and faculty that supported the kind of research project I wanted to develop. I thus met Dr. George Amato, the director of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), who invited me to collaborate as a member of his research team. During my tenure at the museum, first as a graduate student and then as a postdoctoral fellow, I mentored and taught high school students participating in the Science Mentor Research Program, a National Science Foundation and AMNH initiative to promote science learning in New York City. Thanks to this collaboration, mainly with Dr. Hilleary Osheroff, the manager of this excellent program, I was notified about the working opportunity at the Dolan DNA Learning Center. For me collaborating at the Dolan DNA Learning Center as the Urban Barcode Manager is a unique opportunity. Through this project I will be able to combine my expertise in scientific research and teaching for developing multidisciplinary projects related with environmental sciences and conservation biology. I will also be recruiting promising and talented teachers, scientist, and students that want to participate doing DNA barcoding projects in New York City. Therefore, this is an outstanding project where I can combine science research, outreach, and teaching activities.

Posts by Oscar Pineda-Catalan

Amazon River Dolphin

Farwell to Baiji, the Yangtze River Dolphin

A few years ago there were four species of dolphins living in freshwater ecosystems or estuaries in the world. Two of them are still distributed in South America – the Amazon River and the Plata River dolphins (Inia gophrensis and Pontoporia blainvillei, respectively) – and two lived in Asia – the Ganges and Indus River dolphin (Platanista gangetica), and the Yangtze River Dolphin, or Baiji (Lipotes vexillifer). These species were highly adapted to live in freshwater ecosystems with distinctive anatomical characteristics that differentiated them from their marine relatives, such as larger snouts (almost four times larger than the snout size of More >

Pinus strobus EOL

The Encyclopedia of Life

Documenting the biological diversity of our planet is a challenging task. It implies information collection and organization of millions of species, their genetic diversity and their interactions in biological communities and ecosystems. It also implies coordination among multiple institutions and thousands of scientists, environmentalists, and professionals working with biodiversity.

In 2007, Dr. Edward O. Wilson’s speech as the recipient of the TED Prize potentiated the creation of the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), an international effort to gather together all human knowledge of Earth’s biodiversity.  EOL’s mission is “to increase awareness and understanding of living nature through an encyclopedia that gathers, generates, More >

Fungi_of_Saskatchewan Wikipedia

How Many Species are on Earth?

For several years scientists have tried to estimate the number of species living on Earth. This is not an easy question to answer and multiple approaches have been developed to calculate how large Earth’s biodiversity is. All of the estimates obtained so far have a large prediction range, hundreds of thousands or even millions of species from the smallest estimates to the largest ones. On top of this shaming ignorance, our planet’s biodiversity is highly threatened. Solid evidence indicates that we are facing a massive extinction event, driven unfortunately by our own activities. The most recent evidence indicates that a More >