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Personal information

Mónica’s research concentrates on the interactions between biosphere and geosphere with an emphasis in geomicrobiology and biogeochemistry. Her research interests are mainly focused on low temperature and environmental geochemistry with a focus on biomineralization and/or  mineral-microbe interactions that play a key role in biogeochemical processes. Studies of important modern environmental systems, such as hypersaline and alkaline lagoons (Lagoa Vermelha and Brejo do Espinho, Brazil) and extreme acidic enviromnets  (Rio Tinto, Spain), have lead her to evaluate the biogeochemical influences on these extreme environments. The main goals of her research are  (1) the study of the  physico-chemical parameters controling the sediment production in modern Earth surfarce environments: (2) the simulation of those physico-chemical conditions in  laboratory  experiments  using the microbial community associated with the production of those sediments and (3) to understand the influence of microbes on mineral precipitation in modern and ancient systems on Earth and extraterrestrial planets.

In 2007, she was awarded a PhD in Earth Sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. Since then, she has continued to develop her research career holding positions at the University of Georgia (USA) and the Savannah River Site (USA) with a NASA fellowship to study the formation of carbonates at low temperature and their implication for the search of Life in other planets such as Mars. In 2010, she moved to the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) in Madrid (Spain) with a ERC fellowship to study the carbonate formation in the extreme acidic environment of Rio Tinto and its implication for the terrestrial and extraterrestrial geological records, respectively. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) in the Earth Science Department at the Vrije University (VU) in Amsterdam (Netherlands). In recent years, her research has focused on the biotic and abiotic formation of sedimentary (low temperature) carbonates, phosphates and sulphates in hypersaline and extreme acidic environments in order to define potential biosignatures for early life on Earth and Mars.


2016-present       Restriction and contientalization in the internal Betic basins and relationships with the initiation of the Messinian salinity crisis.

2016-present       Saline and alkaline wetlands from the interior of the Iberian Peninsula: hydrodynamic, biochemical and sedimentary modeling and comparative analysis.

2016-present       Holocene paleoclimatology based on speleothems from the Mélagues karst, Montagne Noire, France.

2016-present      Molar-Tooth structures: Formation and Specific Carbonate Diagenesis in    Mesoproterozoic Peri-reefal settings of the Atar Group, Adrar of Mauritania.

2015-present      Geobiological Mechanisms that Control the Chemistry of Low Temperature Carbonates.

2014-present    From the Cambrian Explosion to the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event: phylogenetic and palaeogeographic controls in Gondwana.

Selected publications:
- Sánchez-Román M; Puente-Sánchez F, Parro V, Amils R (2015) Nucleation of Fe-rich phosphate and carbonate on microbial cells and exopolymeric substances. Frontiers in Microbiology, 6: 1024.

- Sánchez-Román M; Fernández-Remolar D; Amils R; Sánchez-Navas; Schmid T; San Martin-Uriz; Rodriguez N; McKenzie JA; Vasconcelos C (2014) Microbial mediated formation of Fe-carbonate minerals under extreme acidic conditions. Nature Scientific Reports, 4: 4767.

- Puente-Sánchez F; Sánchez-Román M; Amils R; Parro V. (2014) Tessaracoccus lapiscapta sp. nov., a novel actinobacterium isolated from the deep subsurface of the Iberian Pyritic Belt (Huelva,Spain). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 64, 3546-3552.

- Amils R; Fernández-Remolar D; Parro V; Rodríguez-Manfredi JA; Oggerin M; Sánchez-Román M; López F. et al (2014) Río Tinto: A Geochemical and Mineralogical Terrestrial Analogue of Mars. Life 4, 511-534.

- Oggerin M, Tornos F, Rodríguez N, del Moral C, Sánchez-Román M and Amils R (2013) Specific jarosite  biomineralization  by  Purpureocillium  lilacinum  ,  an  acidophilic  fungi  isolated  from  Río Tinto. Environmental Microbiology 15, 2228-2237.

- Amils R; Fernández-Remolar D; Parro V; Rodríguez-Manfredi JA; Timmis K; Oggerin M; Sánchez- Román M; López F. et al (2013). Iberian Pyrite Belt Subsurface Life (IPBSL), a drilling project of biohydrometallurgical interest. Advanced Materials Research, 825, 15 - 18.

- Fernández-Remolar DC, Preston LJ, Sánchez-Román M, Izawa MRM, Huang L, Southam G,  Banerjee  NR.  et  al  (2012).  Carbonate  precipitation  under  bulk  acidic  conditions  as  a  potential biosignature  for searching life on Mars. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 351–352, 13-26.

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

carbonate Earth & Environmental Sciences
Carbonates Medicine & Life Sciences
Mars Earth & Environmental Sciences
dolomite Earth & Environmental Sciences
biomineralization Earth & Environmental Sciences
Minerals Medicine & Life Sciences
sulfate Earth & Environmental Sciences
Actinobacteria Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2007 2015

  • 17 Article
  • 1 Conference contribution
  • 1 Review article

Nucleation of Fe-rich phosphates and carbonates on microbial cells and exopolymeric substances

Sánchez-Román, M., Puente-Sánchez, F., Parro, V. & Amils, R. 2015 In : Frontiers in Microbiology. 6, SEP, 01024

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Extraterrestrial Environment

Microbial mediated formation of Fe-carbonate minerals under extreme acidic conditions

Sánchez-Román, M., Fernández-Remolar, D., Amils, R., Sánchez-Navas, A., Schmid, T., Martin-Uriz, P. S., Rodríguez, N., McKenzie, J. A. & Vasconcelos, C. 23 Apr 2014 In : Scientific Reports. 4, 4767

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Río Tinto: A geochemical and mineralogical terrestrial analogue of Mars

Amils, R. , Fernández-Remolar, D. , Parro, V. , Rodríguez-Manfredi, J. A. , Oggerin, M. , Sánchez-Román, M. , López, F. J. , Fernández-Rodríguez, J. P. , Puente-Sánchez, F. , Briones, C. , Prieto-Ballesteros, O. , Tornos, F. , Gómez, F. , García-Villadangos, M. , Rodríguez, N. , Omoregie, E. , Timmis, K. , Arce, A. , Sanz, J. L. , Gómez-Ortiz, D. & 1 others IPBSL Team 15 Sep 2014 In : Life. 4, 3, p. 511-534 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
belts (equipment)

Tessaracoccus lapidicaptus sp. nov., an actinobacterium isolated from the deep subsurface of the Iberian pyrite belt

Puente-Sánchez, F., Sánchez-Román, M., Amils, R. & Parro, V. 1 Oct 2014 In : International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology. 64, p. 3546-3552 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Iberian pyrite belt subsurface life (IPBSL), a drilling project of biohydrometallurgical interest

Amils, R., Fernández-Remolar, D., Parro, V., Rodríguez-Manfredi, J. A., Timmis, K., Oggerin, M., Sánchez-Román, M., López, F. J., Fernández-Rodríguez, J. P., Puente-Sánchez, F., Gómez-Ortiz, D., Briones, C., Gómez, F., Omoregie, E., García-Villadangos, M., Rodríguez, N. & Sanz, J. L. 2013 Integration of Scientific and Industrial Knowledge on Biohydrometallurgy. Vol. 825, p. 15-18 4 p. (Advanced Materials Research; vol. 825)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution