Dr. Villela's research interest is, mainly, the investigation of marine microbes that can be applied to the protection and recovery of the environment, mitigating the consequences of the anthropogenic activities. Her background include research on genetic engineering of microalgae strains to produce biofuel, the development of bioremediation approaches to mitigate oil spills impacts on reef sites, and the investigation of the effects of pollutants (such as oil and chemical dispersants) on corals and their associated microbiomes.
In the Red Sea, Dr. Villela will be studying, together with her PI Dr. Raquel Peixoto, coral-associated microbes with the potential to be applied as coral probiotics, the so-called Beneficial Microorganisms for Corals (BMCs). Dr. Villela will also be exploring chemosynthetic coral-associated bacteria in the Red Sea deep waters, characterizing how the bacteria-coral organic carbon transference occurs in the deep and cold environments.
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