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Renée Condori Apaza

Education Associate
Life Sciences Outreach Team
NASA Ames Research Center

Who I Am and What I Do
My name is Renée M. Condori Apaza. I am Chemical Engineer from the University San Agustin of Arequipa, and I am a scientist invited of the NASA Ames Research Center since 2004. Now I am working with Dr. Chris Mckay in this Project of Life in the desert of Atacama. Also we are making a study similar in the desert of the Joya in Arequipa. We are searching for life in extreme environments and getting to know the habitat of microorganisms in the hyperarid Deserts.

Also, I am conducting research in the area of biotechnology in the Center of Applied Bioengineering Research – University National San Agustin of Arequipa in Peru and advising undergraduate and master students in their thesis investigations. I have an administrative job in a private company; I work as business manager. For the moment I am searching for an opportunity for post-graduate studies in USA or Europe.

How I first became interested in this profession
I want to know more about the processes and transformation of matter and energy.Since childhood, I have been interested in transforming things to obtain new things that will help the population to improve the quality of life.

What helped prepare me for this job
As student of Chemical Engineering I took to the courses of organic and inorganic, physiochemistry, and courses of unitary operations and processes in the transformation of the matter and energy.

For me it is important to know more about life of microorganisms from the standpoint of habitat, physiochemical properties and process of life.

My education and training
I did my elementary education, in the American Independence High school in Arequipa and the University in Arequipa, which is part of the public education system of Perú. I studied chemical engineering in the National University San Agustín of Arequipa. I worked in a manufacturing company that manufactures pharmaceutical products and in a meat processing company. Since four year ago, I am doing research in biotechnology, and for now I am working with Chris MacKay in this project of Life in the desert of Atacama and in the desert of the Joya.

What I like about my job
As a researcher, I think it is good to search for answers about all that surrounds us and especially in this field, the process of life and habitat of the microorganisms to gain more knowledge about life.

For this purpose, I believe that is always good to investigate beginning with the most simple in order to understand the more complex. For all this, when I analyze strategies to resolve the problems of investigation, I like to meditate alone in a tranquil place, far from the multitude. Often during these processes one finds new things that one does not anticipate, and that is good because one learns a lot more.

My advice to anyone interested in this occupation
Always search for truth and question why? and how? of things. You need a good base in science and to be confident, hard-working and creative in this profession.

Renee in the field

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Editor: Brian Day
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated:June, 2006
Students Contact: Jennifer Heldmann
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe