Dr. Hernandez holds a PhD in Biological Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Hernandez joined the Masdar Institute as Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering in July of 2011. His research laboratory, the Microbial Environmental and Chemical Engineering Laboratory (MECEL), focuses on applying biotechnology tools and engineering principles to address challenges facing society in the areas of energy, water, and food security. Under his direction, his team employs a holistic approach in developing a research program that covers all the distinct elements of environmental microbiology research. These include isolation and characterization of previously unidentified high value microbial species, use genetically engineering techniques to produce desired products, large-scale growth facilities design, as well as techno-economic analysis of the entire value chain.
Prior to coming to Masdar Institute, Dr. Hernandez was at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During his time there, Dr. Hernandez took on diverse leadership positions including the position of Vice-President of the Graduate Student Council. In this role, Dr. Hernandez organized and helped found several interdisciplinary entrepreneurial organizations such as the MIT 100K, MIT Career Fair and the MIT-TechLink club, thus helping foster and support cross disciplinary collaboration between the MIT graduate student communities and industry. In addition, Dr. Hernandez was recognized for his research accomplishments by being selected as a recipient of the prestigious NIH Biotechnology Predoctoral Training Program and was both a MIT Energy Initiative Fellow, and a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar.
Dr. Hernandez’s discoveries in the algae and environmental microbiology field have made him a recognized leader, with his work being featured by such media outlets as the National Newspaper, Bloomberg Business, and CNN International.