Professor Maria Mercedes Roca has spent more than two decades in biological research directed to agricultural and environmental applications in several regions of the world (Latin America, Europe, Africa). She was professor of Biotechnology at Zamorano Univeristy, an international university based in Honduras and at the Tec de Monterrey, Mexico. She has expertise in policy development for biotechnology and synthetic biology and regularly participates in UN summits for the Convention of Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol for Biosafety of Biotechnology.
Professor Roca has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and a Ph.D. in molecular virology from Kings College London and UCL respectively, and did her post-doc at Rothamsted Research also in the UK. She is Executive Director of BioScience Think Tank, Senior Fellow of the Institute on Science for Global Policy based in Washington DC, member of the Scientific Consultative Council to CIBIOGEM which advices the Mexican Government on biosafety of biotechnology and GMOs, and judge and coach for several Latin American iGEM teams.
She has lived and worked in 6 countries, in three continents, is bilingual in Spanish and English and feels a world citizen. Professor Roca is passionate about finding solutions for living with our planet without trashing it, and not just living on our planet. The values of justice, fairness, and social, economic and environmental responsibility are important to her and her work. She believes in the power of young people with vision, commitment and big dreams.