Hector H. Hernandez

Hector H. Hernandez


Dr. Hector H. Hernandez joined Masdar Institute as Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering in July of 2011. Dr. Hernandez received his PhD in Chemical Biology from the Chemistry Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to joining Masdar Institute, Dr. Hernandez was a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT. In this role he led a team of graduate and undergraduate students in the characterization of microbial communities isolated from a Carbon Sequestration injection site.

Courses/Teaching interests:

  • CHE520 - Biochemistry for Engineers
  • CHE620 - Advanced Techniques in Molecular Sensing CHE620
  • CHE609 - Advanced Techniques in Molecular Engineering

Current and former Masdar Institute students

  • Ahmed Al Harethi 
  • Elham Ali Abdulkarem 
  • Fatima Al Jallaf 
  • Ruqaia Ismail 
  • Saleha Almardeai (Co-advised with Dr. Jens Ejbye Schmidt)
  • Shaima Zarreen 


Dr. Hernandez’s laboratory -- the Microbial Environmental and Chemical Engineering Laboratory (MECEL) -- focuses on applying biotechnology tools and engineering principles to environmental microbial systems to address challenges facing society in the areas of food, water, diminishing nutritional resources, and bioremediation of ecosystems in the United Arab Emirates. MECEL is working on isolating and characterizing microalgae species from the UAE, identifying the microbial composition of camel gut ecosystem, identifying microbes from the desert for soil regeneration, and identifying microbial populations that can be used for bioremediation of harmful chemical compounds released in the environment.

You can read more about Dr. Hernandez and the research conducted in his laboratory by visiting the laboratory’s webpage at: http://mecelab.com/ 

Research Projects

  • Application of native UAE microbes for bioremediation of soil and water contaminated with aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Biodesalination: investigating the potential for light-powered salt removal from water
  • Isolation of microorganisms to develop new innovative pretreatment and fractionation methods of biomass from the mangrove
  • Microalgae as a source of food for aquaculture and agriculture in the UAE
  • Microbial micro beads for regeneration of agricultural soils of the UAE
  • Metafunctional analysis of camel gut microbes for the production of biogas and other high value chemicals


Selected Publications:

  • Peet KC, Freedman AJE, Hernandez HH, Britto V, Boreham C, Ajo-Franklin JB, Thompson JR. Microbial growth under supercritical CO2. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. April 2015 vol. 81 no. 8 2881-2892
  • Patwardhan P, Timko M, Class C, Bonomi R, Kida Y, Hernandez HH, Tester J, Green, W. Supercritical water desulfurization of organic sulfides is consistent with free radical kinetics. Energy & Fuels 2013 27 (10), 6108-6117
  • Mieseler M, Atiyeh MN, Hernandez HH, Ahmad F. Direct enrichment of perchlorate reducing microbial community for efficient electroactive perchlorate reduction in biocathodes. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology 40(11): 1321-1327.
  • Santos S, Stefancich M, Hernandez HH, Chiesa M, Thomson NH. Hydrophylicity of a single DNA molecule. J. Phys. Chem. C, December 2012, 116 (4), 2807–2818
  • Akerboom J, Vélez Rivera JD, Rodríguez Guilbe MM, Alfaro Malavé EC, Hernandez HH, Tian L, Hires SA, Marvin JS, Looger LL, Schreiter ES. Crystal structures of the GCaMP calcium sensor reveal the mechanism of fluorescence signal change and aid rational design. J. Biol. Chem., Mar 2009; 284: 6455 – 6464
  • Hernandez HH, Jaquez OJ, Hamill MJ, Elliott SJ, Drennan CL. Thioredoxin Reductase from T. Acidophilum: a new twist on redox regulation. Biochemistry. 2008 Sep 16;47(37):9728-37
  • Hamill MJ, Chobot SE, Hernandez HH, Drennan CL, Elliott SJ. Direct electrochemical analyses of a thermophilic thioredoxin reductase: interplay between conformational change and redox chemistry. Biochemistry. 2008 Sep 16;47(37):9738-46
  • Chobot SE, Hernandez HH, Drennan CL, Elliott SJ. Direct Electrochemical Characterization of Archaeal Thioredoxins. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2007; 46(22) :4145-7
  • Midelfort KS, Hernandez HH, Lippow SM, Tidor B, Drennan CL, Wittrup KD. Substantial energetic improvement with minimal structural perturbation in a high affinity mutant antibody. J Mol Biol. 2004 Oct 22;343(3):685-701.