PhD Student

email herreraj@mit.edu

Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
E25, 45 Carleton Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
USA

 

Bio

2017-present– Graduate Student, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT
2016-2017– Research Support Assistant, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT
2013-2016– BSc. Biology, University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain

Research

My research focuses on the chemical preservation of melanin and its distribution in the fossil record. Although melanin is a ubiquitous pigment found in bacteria, fungi, plants and animals, little is known about its taphonomy or the chemical processes responsible for its preservation over time. To this end, I have three main aims: 1) To study the chemical composition of an exceptionally well-preserved fossil via Py-GCMS, 2) To improve our understanding about diagenesis processes of melanin in the soft tissue preservation, 3) To discern chemical features that reflect original colour characteristics.

Select Publications

Brown, C. M., Henderson, D. M., Vinther, J., Fletcher, I., Sistiaga, A., Herrera, J., & Summons, R. E. (2017). An exceptionally preserved three-dimensional armored dinosaur reveals insights into coloration and Cretaceous predator-prey dynamics. Current Biology27(16), 2514-2521. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.071