Rosa Vasquez Espinoza

From Wikitia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Rosa Vásquez Espinoza
Add a Photo
Rosa exploring stingless bees in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest
  • Tennessee Tech (B.S.)
  • University of Michigan (Ph.D.)
Known for
  • Boiling River Microbes
  • Stingless Bees and Medicinal Honey
  • Secrets in the Jungle (TV)
  • Sustainability in cosmetics

Rosa Vásquez Espinoza is a Peruvian Chemical Biologist, former professional dancer, and National Geographic Explorer.[1] She is the founder and executive director of Amazon Research Internacional[2] and the co-founder of Purple Corn Creative Sciences.

She is best known for her research and conservation efforts focused on the biodiversity and chemistry of the Amazon Rainforest [3] including studying microbes from a boiling river [4] and investigating stingless bees.[5] [6] She is recognized for her ability to bridge ancestral knowledge with modern audiences. Additionally, Rosa is an advocate for indigenous rights, sustainability, the integration of arts in the sciences, and the advancement of Latina women in STEM fields.

Early life and education

Rosa Vásquez Espinoza was born on January 10, 1993, in Los Olivos, Lima, Peru. During her childhood, she would often spend summers visiting her extended family in the Andean town of Ancash or the Amazonian regions of Loreto and Pucallpa. Her upbringing in Peru included engaging in creative activities such as dance, poetry, music, and theatre. Additionally, she had the opportunity to learn Italian and English from a young age.

In various interviews including an appearance in the Tamron Hall show,[7] Rosa has emphasized that her grandmother's ancestral knowledge of medicinal plants, rooted in Quechuan tradition, played a significant role in inspiring her to pursue a career in science.

Higher education

In 2011, at the age of 18, Vásquez Espinoza received multiple scholarships to move to the USA and pursue a career in science. As an undergraduate student, she received numerous academic awards and actively engaged in scientific research, which resulted in her first-author publication.[8] During her second and third year of undergraduate studies, she completed summer courses in Europe. She took advanced Italian and Art History courses in Milan and Florence, Italy, and a beginner's German course in Berlin and Regensburg, Germany. As a senior student, she participated in a summer internship in International Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine at Guang'Anmen Hospital in Beijing, China, one of the largest hospitals in the country. During this internship, she developed and taught the course "Introduction to Peruvian Traditional Medicine," attracting over 25 nurses from rural hospitals in China. In 2015, she graduated with the highest honors, earning a double B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Tennessee Tech University.

Subsequently, in 2016, Vásquez Espinoza joined the University of Michigan to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology under the mentorship of renowned professors David Sherman and John Montgomery, who specialize in natural products, biocatalysis, and synthetic chemistry. In 2019, she received a research grant from National Geographic and became a National Geographic Explorer.[9] During her graduate studies, she played a role in securing private donor funding for her doctoral research. After graduating in 2021, she completed a one-year postdoctoral research position at the Life Sciences Institute, working with the Natural Product Drug Discovery Core and the Sherman Laboratory.


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Vásquez Espinoza was an active dancer and performer in Lima, Peru, with the Luna Dance School. She mastered Latin, cultural, and oriental dances and frequently participated in group dance performances around Lima for cultural events, entertaining audiences of up to 1,000 people. In 2012, she began competing internationally and eventually earned multiple titles, including Best Fusion Dance Performances at Singapore's World Dance Festival in 2014.

After completing her undergraduate studies, Vásquez Espinoza decided to take a year off to explore other interests. She volunteered with non-profit organizations designing and leading international health campaigns. She also collaborated with Bellywood Studios to establish a dance and health studio in Orlando, Florida, which is still operational. During this time, she organized various international dance conventions and competitions, created and led several dance programs catering to beginner and advanced levels, and coached numerous performers in the Florida area who continue to pursue professional dance careers. She designed professional dance outfits that were sold in over 5 countries and created her own line of dance training attire. Additionally, she appeared on the cover of one of Matias Hazrum's music CDs and was featured in a music video with an Orlando artist. In 2016, just before starting her Ph.D., Vásquez Espinoza was invited to headline a three-week tour in China. She conducted dance classes and performances in the cities of Beijing, Datong, and Guangzhou, with hundreds of students participating in her classes. She has previously said that dancing inspires her approach to public speaking and motivates her to integrate multiple artistic perspectives into explorative research and science communication.[10]

Career and research

Vásquez Espinoza is a chemical biologist, public speaker, and storyteller.[1] She serves as the founder and executive director of Amazon Research Internacional,[2] a Peru-based non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and research of delicate organisms in the Amazon Rainforest, their ecosystems and the communities reliant on them. Additionally, she holds the position of co-director at Purple Corn Creative Sciences, a UK-based consulting firm specializing in sustainability, education, and science. Prior to her current roles, she worked as a research associate fellow at the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan.


Vásquez Espinoza studies the micro-worlds within the Amazon Rainforest to "show that the biodiversity in the Amazon is far beyond jaguars and anacondas".[1] Her primary objective is to reveal the chemical and genetic makeup of these often ignored organisms, with the goal of understanding their ecological benefits for the surrounding ecosystem and communities.

Currently, she is conducting a study on Amazonian stingless bees, investigating their medicinal honey and their impact on pollination and reforestation in the Peruvian Amazon.[5] This research is being carried out in collaboration with scientist Cesar Delgado at the Institute of Investigation of the Peruvian Amazon and Amazon Research Internacional. Her work has received recognition and media coverage, having been featured in ABC Studios,[7] National Geographic Magazine,[5] TreeHugger,[11] Bee Culture,[12] Andina, SOMOS El Comercio,[13] and other outlets.

Previously, she investigated the microscopic world of the Peruvian Boiling River, aiming to understand the extreme microbes that inhabit it, their role in the evolution of life in the Amazon, their potential in producing biologically-relevant molecules, and their contribution to bioremediation.[14] This work was partially funded by National Geographic Society and it was conducted at University of Michigan in collaboration with the Sherman Laboratory, the Natural Product Drug Discovery Core, scientist Andrés Ruzo, and Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Peru.

Prior to her focus on Amazonian studies, Vásquez Espinoza made significant contributions during her Ph.D., including the discovery of five new microbial-derived antibiotics. She also designed multiple enzymes as tools for green chemistry. In her postdoctoral research, she further advanced her work by designing and developing a genetic platform for the discovery of microbial natural product molecules and studying their biosynthetic machineries using samples from various locations worldwide.


Through Amazon Research Internacional, Vásquez Espinoza is at the forefront of conservation initiatives in the Peruvian Amazon. Working closely with indigenous groups such as the Ashaninka, Ticuna, Awajum, and Kukama-kukamiria communities, Delgado and Vásquez Espinoza have been strong advocates for the legal recognition and conservation of stingless bees in the Peruvian Amazon.[15] Their efforts have yielded significant progress, as this initiative has recently received approval from the Agricultural Commission in the Peruvian Congress. The next step involves further deliberation and debate for its national implementation, which is set to take place in the upcoming months.

Science Communication

Vásquez Espinoza started a career in science communication when she became the host of "Reciclaje de los plásticos más comunes", an educational master class developed by National Geographic, Disney and PepsiCo in 2021.[16] Shortly after, she collaborated with Garnier and National Geographic to create a campaign focused on sustainability in cosmetics and beauty care. The campaign, which has recently been released, has garnered over 3 million views on NatGeo's Instagram Channel.[17]

In 2022, Vásquez Espinoza became an expert presenter on "Secrets in the Jungle," a nature TV show featured on the Science Channel and Discovery Channel.[18] Additionally, she collaborated with SeaDoo and National Geographic to produce a short film highlighting the scientific exploration of Lake Huron, which has gained over 1 million views on YouTube.[19] Towards the end of 2022, she served as the bilingual host of NASA Space Week, a production by HITN-TV that celebrated the launch of Artemis.[20]

Recently, Vásquez Espinoza launched "Secret Diary of a Jungle Girl," a seven-episode mini-series on YouTube that documents her exploration work in the Amazon Rainforest.[21] She is highly sought-after as a public speaker in the USA, Europe, and South America, delivering engaging presentations on various sustainability, science, education, leadership and exploration topics. Additionally, she actively maintains a strong presence on social media, effectively communicating relevant scientific and exploration-related content.


Vásquez Espinoza collaborated with Sharee Barton, a NatGeo expert educator, to develop the educational program "Interconnected Yellowstone." This program offers a two-day, hands-on interactive experience that explores Yellowstone National Park from a multidisciplinary perspective.[22] It was successfully implemented in 2021 and 2022, engaging 4th and 5th graders in Idaho and igniting their passion for science and exploration. The collaboration between Vásquez Espinoza and Barton is ongoing, with their joint efforts focused on expanding the program to encompass other ecosystems. Their ultimate goal is to make the program accessible for worldwide use and implementation.


Vásquez Espinoza is an advocate for inclusivity and diversity in education. In 2020, she received the American Chemical Society CAS Leadership Award, which recognizes science fellows that demonstrate promise as leaders in their fields. In 2023, she was awarded Best Biologist of The Year by the Asociación de Biólogos in Peru to recognize her efforts in research and conservation.

Personal life

Vásquez Espinoza is married to scientist-artist Christopher Perry.[23] They share a toy poodle named Xavi and they currently live in Somerset, UK.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "About".
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Amazon Research Internacional".
  3. "National Geographic Print Magazine". September 2022.
  4. "Science Friday Top Stories 2020".
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "These Stingless Bees Make Medicinal Honey". April 2022.
  6. "Forbes Interview Jill Tiefenthaler". May 2022.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "A Chemical Biologist Is Using the Amazon's Smallest Creatures to Create Big Change". April 2022.
  8. "Rosa's Scientific Publications".
  9. "Rosa Vásquez Espinoza: Magnifying the world's tiniest life forms". March 2022.
  10. "The Soapy Rao Show Podcast". July 2022.
  11. "Stingless bees help rainforest and local communities". May 2022.
  12. "Life, death and stingless bees in the Peruvian Amazon". July 2022.
  13. "La vida 'invisible' que podría salvar a la Amazonía". May 2022.
  14. "Magnifying the MicroAmazon". 2022.
  15. "Protege a las abejas de Perú". May 2023.
  16. "Reciclaje de los plásticos más comunes". May 2021.
  17. "Green Sciences Garnier". June 2023.
  18. "Secrets in the Jungle". August 2022.
  19. "Diving for Cyanobacteria in Lake Huron". Jan 2023.
  20. "NASA Space Week". October 2022.
  21. "Secret Diary of a Jungle Girl". June 2023.
  22. "24 Fourth Graders + a National Geographic Explorer = Magic". April 2022.
  23. "CJPerry".

External links

Add External links

This article "Rosa Vasquez Espinoza" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.