Dr. Mata is an Assistant Professor and specializes in plant ecophysiology. She obtained her PhD in Utrecht, (The Netherlands) and completed her postdoctoral training in California (UCSB), Italy (INR) and Australia (UWA). I work mostly with Mediterranean plants, and am interested in drought and photosynthesis that I studied in Mediterranean plants in three continents, and noticed how many plants in these environments have amazing and different mechanisms of drought resistance. If we can trace some drought resistance strategies in the wild plants and apply them into crops, we would have more drought tolerant crops, expanding the areas where they could grow in our increasingly arid planet, and saving on irrigation water. Dr. Mata is also interested in the use of stable isotopes 13C and 17O in ecosystems ecology, to detect past drought, and in tracing the products of photosynthesis in leaves. These methods are used to trace the origins of our food, and detect fraud.
Dr. Mata is currently working with a student, Blanche Penafiel, on the study of light on the growth, photosynthetic capacity, development, leaf production and oil production of Basil plants (Ocimum basilicum). The seeds and currently germinating.