Dr. Peña received her B.S. in Biology in 1989 and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Science in 1994 and 1996, respectively, from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Prior to joining the CCRC in 2003, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow from 1998 to 2002 in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology of Purdue University (IN). Currently, Dr. Peña is an Associate Research Scientist at the CCRC and funded investigator of the DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI).
Dr. Peña has over 60 full publications, 1 book charter and 1 patent.
Dr. Peña’s research focuses on several topics related to plant cell walls including i) synthesis, structure, and biological function of cell wall polysaccharides, ii) plant biomass deconstruction by microorganisms, and iii) production of plant cell wall-derived biomaterials. This research involves the application of advance mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy techniques for the determination of polysaccharide structure, functional characterization of carbohydrate-active enzymes and protein-carbohydrate interactions.