Profile of Dr Gloria Batista de Vega


doctoraDr Gloria Batista de Vega is Director of Research and Development (R&D) at Gracilarias de Panama. She comes from a well-known Panamanian family that has produced a number of scientists. Her father, Professor José Manuel Batista, who was born and bred in the province of Herrera, founded the School of Meteorology at the University of Panama along with a number of other schools of meteorology in the neighboring Republic of Colombia.

Born in Colombia but a true Colonese at heart, Gloria has a degree in Biology from the University of Panama, a master’s degree in Coastal Management, doctorate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate in Marine Plant Biotechnology from the University of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, Spain. She is an expert in biology and chemistry at the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University of Bogota and since 1984 has been a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institute in Panama, at the Punta Galeta Marine Laboratory.

Over the last three years she has also carried out research into plant anatomy at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, and more recently at the University of California, Irvine. At the Smithsonian she is a colleague of Dr James Norris of the Department of Botany, and at UC-Irvine she works with Dr Enrico Gratton and Dr Michell A. Digman from the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Dr Batista de Vega is currently working on a project called the “eco-sustainable cultivation of marine algae and their applications”. Her research into growing marine algae in vitro centers on those species most cultivated and used by the Guna and Afro-Caribbean communities on Panama’s Caribbean coast. Her recent work at the Laboratory for Electron Microscopy at UC-Irvine looks at the fluorescence of cells from algae obtained in vitro, i.e. the development of new energy sources from algae.

She is a professor in the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Panama, at the Regional University Center in Colon. She has won a number of national and international awards:

  • 1992: Distinction of Excellence for the project “The Conservation and Management of a Future Reserve for Colon, Panama”, UC-Berkeley.
  • 1986: Honor Award and grant from the National Wildlife Federation, Washington.
  • 1984: Research grant from the Department of Forestry at UC-Berkeley.
  • 1992: Special Prize and grant for the research paper “Gracilaria Sp. sea farms on the Atlantic Coast of Panama in connection with the establishment of a nature reserve with an economic purpose”, Texaco Foundation, New York.
  • 2000: “Province of Colon, Woman of Distinction”, Soroptimist International.
  • 2005: National Award for Sciences for the project “Cultivation of marine algae of the Rhodophyta division near the northern entrance to the Panama Canal”, Panama Science Association (APANAC).
  • 2006: Participant in the National Mariculture Plan, MIDA / ARAP.
  • 2007-2009: Knowledge Award for the project “Sustainable cultivation of marine algae”, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain.
  • 2009-present: Elected representative for Panama on the administrative council of the Pan American Marine Biotechnology Association (PAMBA).

Dr Gloria Batista de Vega has represented the Republic of Panama at various international scientific events in Germany, France, Norway, Japan, India, the US, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica and Chile.