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Meet our conference speakers

Luis E. Eguiarte (Plenary)

Institute of Ecology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Luis E. Eguiarte is a professor in the Department of Evolutionary Ecology, where he is also the chair, at the Institute of Ecology in the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He is an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He studies the evolution, ecology and diversity of Mexican plants, vertebrates, and microorganisms. In animals, he has been working in the evolutionary genomics, population genetics and phylogeny of nectar feeding bats --in particular of the genus Leptonycteris --and hummingbirds. In plants, he studies mainly Agave, trying to understand its impressive adaptive radiation and its genetic resources, in special of the species used to produce mezcal and tequila. He has published more than 260 research papers, written or edited 13 books and 77 book chapters. Under his direction 39 graduate students have conducted their research, as well as many undergraduate and postdoctoral fellows.

Ivana Budinski (Spallanzani)

Institute for Biological Research "Siniša Stanković" 

University of Belgrade, Serbia

Ivana Budinski is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković” (IBISS) – National Institute of the Republic of Serbia, at the University of Belgrade. She holds a Master’s degree in Biology and a PhD in Evolutionary Biology, with her doctoral research focusing on the population genetic structure and phylogeography of the Mediterranean horseshoe bat in the Balkans. She has worked with bats in Serbia since 2004, encompassing bat roost and population monitoring, population genetics, the impact of anthropogenic factors on bat habitats, and the development of conservation strategies. In addition to her scientific research at IBISS, she is an external collaborator for the Centre for Animal Marking at the Natural History Museum of Belgrade. For over ten years, she has participated in the European Researchers' Night science popularization projects. Furthermore, she organizes public engagement events and actively participates in radio and TV media outreach to raise awareness about the ecological significance of bats.

Cárol Sierra Durán (Villa 2023)

Advisor: Rodrigo A. Medellín

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Cárol Sierra Durán is a master's student at the Laboratory of Ecology and Conservation of Terrestrial Vertebrates, Institute of Ecology, UNAM. She graduated from the National University of Colombia, where she started working on bat ecology and conservation in 2015. She has participated in bat research projects in Latin America, Africa, and Europe, mainly interested in working on ecosystem services. She was awarded Elisabeth Kalko Prize for her master's project in 2023 and is currently the communication coordinator of the Global South Bats network and a National Geographic Young Explorer.

Román Espinal Palomino (Villa 2024)

Advisors: Carlos N. Ibarra Cerdeña and Víctor M. Vidal Martínez


Bachelor’s degree in biology at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM), with a master’s degree in sciences specialized in Marine Biology from CINVESTAV-Mérida. Currently, I am doing my doctorate in the Department of Human Ecology at CINVESTAV-Mérida. My journey in bat research began in 2020, and since then I have been developing my doctoral thesis titled "Viromes of synanthropic bats and their relationship with urbanization: Opportunities for zoonotic events". I am interested in analyzing how human activities, such as urbanization, impact the health of bats and can lead to the emergence of new pathogens, especially viruses with zoonotic potential. I am very interested in being able to develop studies in bats from a One Health perspective.

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