Ramón y Cajal researcher

Associated researcher at CRETUS (Cross-disciplinary Research Center in Environmental Technologies)

Departamento de Edafoloxía e Química Agrícola
Facultade de Farmacia. Pavillón A - Soto. Campus Vida
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (USC)
15782 Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña)
Ph. : +34 881814984
email: patricia.sanmartin@usc.es 

Scopus Author ID: 26534910200 
Web of Science Researcher ID: I-2669-2015

Editorial Board Member of Int. Biodeterior. Biodegradation. WoS-JCR journal.

Editorial Board Member of Coatings. WoS-JCR journal.

Editorial Board Member of AIMS Microbiology. WoS-ESCI journal.

Editorial Board Member of Heritage. WoS-ESCI journal.

Guest Editor of Sci. Total Environ. S.I.: "Biofilm ecology and biodeterioration of stone monuments and historic buildings". WoS-JCR journal.

Reviewer of Spanish Journal of Soil Science. WoS-ESCI journal.

Review Editor for Syst. Microbiol. - Front. Microbiol. WoS-JCR journal.

Collaboration with the mentoring program CREce


  Research Experience

My major research interests include stone microbiology, biofilm at the stone/air interface, bioreceptivity and the development of innovative environmental technologies aimed at managing, assessing and mitigating natural and human impacts on stone resources, in the context of the green deal and circular economy. Much of my research involves the interactions and exchanges between the biosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere and anthroposphere in stone cultural heritage materials. My research activity has mainly been developed at the Universities of Santiago de Compostela (USC), Alicante (2008 and 2009), Milan (2010, 2012 and 2015), Harvard (2013-2014) and Oxford (2019).

I started conducting research in the field of cultural heritage conservation science with contemporary art materials in collaboration with the Galician Centre of Contemporary Art (CGAC) under a Research Collaboration Grant, MEC (2003-2004), at the Dept. Physical Chemistry (USC), then with materials for protecting and consolidating heritage stone under a Third-Cycle Research Fellow, Xunta de Galicia (2006-2007), at the Dept. Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry (USC).

During my PhD studies (2007-2012) as an FPI researcher at the Dept. Soil Science and Agr. Chem. (USC), I undertook extensive research on the early detection of damage based on the quantitative determination of colour of biological colonization on stone, with special focus on granite, to obtain further knowledge about the development of subaerial biofilms (SABs). I completed three grant-supported doctoral research stays at the universities of Alicante (2008 and 2009) and Milan (2010), broadening my knowledge of heritage microbiology and biofilms and optical technologies applied to cultural heritage. Studied a variety of cases mostly involving cyanobacteria, pioneering organisms on lithic substrates. The studies have greatly advanced the understanding of the role of different environmental parameters on SAB formation. My PhD thesis (cum laude with European Doctor Mention) is a compendium of eleven papers, which received the Extraordinary PhD Award (with the highest score) from the Faculty of Pharmacy, USC, and the Best PhD dissertation in Science and Technology Research Prize awarded by the County Council of Pontevedra.

In 2012, I was accepted for a research stay at Harvard University, selected as a Barrié Foundation Research Fellow and awarded a postdoctoral contract from the Xunta de Galicia. Between 2012 and 2015, I worked at Harvard University and the University of Milan, with Prof. Ralph Mitchell and Prof. Francesca Cappitelli, as Principal Investigator (PI) on the BIOREMOGRAF project, aimed at developing a complete methodology for using microorganisms to remove graffiti from construction materials, and have published pioneering studies in this field. My studies remain the only ones obtaining successful results regarding the bioremoval of graffiti. For this work I received the Best Professional Career Award at the 3rd Meeting of Young Researchers Abroad (INIBIC).

participated in the COST action ‘COSCH-Colour and Space in Cultural Heritage’ between 2012 and 2016. In mid-2015, I returned to the USC with a one-year contract for return from the Xunta de Galicia, then under a Juan de la Cierva-Incorporation contract and later a postdoctoral contract from the Xunta de Galicia. During this most recent period (2016-2019), I began research on the effect of public lighting on the biological colonization of the built heritage, working as PI on developing lighting-based strategies to control biological colonization and to manage the chromatic integration of biofouling at laboratory scale (LIGHT4HERITAGE project).

In July 2019, I received the I3 Certificate - awarded for an outstanding research track record by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities. A year earlier, I had received the Galician counterpart certification by the criteria described in BOE-A-2005-14601 from the ACSUG (Agency for Quality Assurance in the Galician University System).

In autumn 2019, I was an Academic Visitor in the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. This allowed me to begin to develop a new research line on Biological Cultural Heritage (BCH), as well as to work intensely on the bioreceptivity concept with Prof. Heather Viles. In January 2020, I was awarded a DAAD grant for research stays in Germany to work with Prof. Anna Gorbushina that I had to decline due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Currently (late 2020- mid 2022), I am the Scientific Director of the CROMALUX project: Third SMARTIAGO Challenge Smart lighting system for Heritage Conservation, an innovative Public Procurement project with European funds awarded with €613,581.43, and the PI of the research study of the project with a budget of €228,072.85.

In August 2021, I was selected as a Ramón y Cajal researcher (2020 call), scoring 99.20 out of 100, ranking position number four on the general list (with 26 granted) for the area of Environmental Science and Technology (CTM) and position number one in the sub-area of Environmental Technologies (CTM-TECNO).

In June 2022, the BIOXEN project: BIOcleaning of XENobiotic materials in granite stone heritage (PID2021-123329NA-I00), of which I am the PI, was granted funding (€121,000.00) by the Spanish State Agency for Research.

  Teaching Experience (as Lecturer and Supervisor) 

I have solid experience in teaching subjects related to environmental science, geology, and soil science, with 648 hours of teaching in the Teaching Organization Plan (POD) from University of Santiago de Compostela, at BSc and MSc levels, obtaining 3 very good ratings (score > 4.5, out of 5) and 4 good ratings (score 3.7-4.5, out of 5) in the students’ assessment of teachers.

I have received the accreditation from ANECA required for the position of Associate Professor, as Profesor Contratado Doctor in July 2013 and Profesor Titular de Universidad in July 2021.

I have supervised 10 Masters theses and 10 End-of-course projects in Italy and Spain, 4 Erasmus+ and an external academic practices student, contracted 3 postdoctoral research assistants and 3 PhD assistants. I am currently co-supervising 4 PhD students.

I have also acted as president, ordinary member, external examiner and alternate member on the examination boards of 6 PhD theses.