Cardemil´s Research interest


Our research area is to study the expression of genes encoding heat shock proteins HSP (HSP70, HSP100 and ubiquitin) and enzymes to repair oxidative stress in native plants and plants of commercial use. These proteins protect plants from temperature stress (cold or hot temperatures), water deficit, salinity stress, lack of oxygen, and excess of superoxide radicals occurring in the oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is induced when the photosynthetic systems begins to malfunction or stop working during environmental stress, affecting mainly the photosystem II that is responsible for breaking the water molecule releasing O2 to deliver protons (2H + + ½ O2).

We also investigate complex polysaccharides (sugar polymers) of plant reserve tissues and the polysaccharide degrading enzymes present in the reserve endosperm of the seed during seed germination. Other important polysaccharides studied are those present in succulent plants accumulated in their leaves or stems. These succulent plants are adapted to arid areas and in the case of the cactus (water accumulates in their stems) or in Aloe vera or Agave sp. plants (water accumulates in their leaves). This reserve of water occurs in the stems and leaves due to the presence of these polysaccharides which hold the water molecules by H bonds.

Polysaccharides synthesized by these plants are a product of photosynthesis, the process that is very efficient in succulents. These plants have the ability to have a high CO2 assimilation with synthesis of sugars. For this, the stomata open at night allowing CO2 enter the photosynthetic cells of leaves or stems avoiding water loss in the hot hours of the day.

In the case of the Aloe vera plants, we have studied the medicinal properties of these polysaccharides. One of them is an excellent inhibitor of the development of colorectal cancer.


Distinciones y Premios

  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor society for distinguished academic people. 1970.
  • Distinción Profesor de Facultad, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile. Reconocimiento de la Facultad de Ciencias por la trayectoria científica y académica. 2005.
  • Mujer Siglo XXI, 2008. Premio Universidad de Chile.
  • Premio Amanda Labarca, Universidad de Chile. 2010.
  • Premio a la Trayectoria Científica. Premio entregado por los pares Científicos de Biología Molecular Vegetal. VII Reunión Anual de Biología Vegetal, Pucón 2010.