Image of Sara Fuentes Soriano

Sara Fuentes-Soriano

Title: College Assistant Professor and Herbarium Director and Curator of NMC and NMCR Herbaria
Major Field of Interest: My interest focuses in the study of plant systematics with emphasis in plant evolutionary history with the aim of understanding the patterns and mechanisms that give rise to morphologic and genomic diversity of flowering plants.
E-mail address: sfuensor@nmsu.edu
Office phone: 575-646-5322/575-646-3732
Websites:
Google Citations
Herbarium

Education:

B.S., Biology, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico, 1995
M.S., Electron Microscopy, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico, 1997
M.S., Plant Systematics, Ecology and Evolution, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri 2002
Ph.D., Plant Systematics, Ecology and Evolution, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri, 2010

Appointments:

2017 - present. Assistant Professor, Herbarium Director and Curator of NMC and NMCR Herbaria, Department of Animal and Range Sciences, ACES. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM.
2015 - 2016. Post-Doctorate, United States Department of Agriculture, College of Agriculture & Human Services. Prairie View Texas A & M, Prairie View, TX.
2012 - 2015. Post-Doctorate, United States Department of Agriculture, Indiana University Bloomington, Department of Biology, Bloomington, IN.
2010 - 2012. Scientific Editor, Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Research and Conservation Division, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO.
2009 - 2010. Research Associate, Flora Mesoamericana Project, Research and Conservation Division, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO.
1994- 2000. Lab Manager & Head Technician. Electron Microscopy Lab. Institute of Biology (IBUNAM), Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), Mexico.
1993 - 1994. Research Assistant, Flora of Tamaulipas. IBUNAM, UNAM, Mexico.
1992 - 1993. Research Assistant, Taxonomic Monograph of the genus Atriplex (Chenopodiaceae). IBUNAM, UNAM, Mexico.

Professional Experience:

My research focuses on floristics, plant taxonomy and systematics, comparative phylogenomics and evolutionary biology. Using plant museum collections (herbarium specimens) and their data, my studies have aimed to address fundamental plant questions related to trait evolution, taxonomic classification and phylogenetics. Most recently my research on comparative phylogenomics using bioinformatics on big data of several crop species and their wild relatives (e.g., loblolly pine, cacao, sweet potato) has been shared with a broad community through publications and outreach programs designed to transfer research-based biotechnology solutions to agricultural problems identified by economically disadvantaged farmers, rural communities, and cattle ranchers.

Serving as the Director and Curator of the two herbaria on the NMSU Campus and acting as a steward of natural history collections, I carry out: 1) professional hands-on experiences designed to engage students to learn more about biological sciences and natural history collections, 2) programs to recruit, train and mentor students and volunteers in herbarium work, 3) activities to promote research and the use of herbarium specimens by the broader plant science community, 4) herbarium tours and botanical presentations to stakeholders inside and outside campus, 5) plant identification services for users of the NMSU herbaria and the University’s Plant Diagnostic Clinic.

I have a strong commitment to higher education and expanding representation in the STEM fields. NMSU, as an official Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and located ca. 50 miles from the Mexican border, provides me, as a Mexican female scientist, the wonderful opportunity to proudly educate and raise awareness about plant science, within underrepresented, economically disadvantaged sectors of the community. Since joining NMSU, I participate in the College Assistance Migrant Program offering professional hands-on experience to 1st generation college students, with my contributions aimed at plant biology using herbarium-based knowledge.