Universiteit Leiden

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Paco Barona Gomez

Associate Professor

Prof.dr. F. Barona Gomez
+31 71 527 2727

I am a Mexican and UK-trained scientist interested in microbial biodiversity and specialized metabolites from different niches and hosts, including plants. My group moved from Cinvestav, Mexico, to IBL in 2022, to develop an interdisciplinary research program on the evolution and ecology of microbial specialized metabolites or natural products.

More information about Paco Barona Gomez

Microbial Biodiversity and Specialized Metabolism

My group is interested in deciphering the evolutionary mechanisms, at different scales (from atoms to microbial communities), underlying the evolution of metabolism during bacterial adaptation. We use multicellular Actinobacteria and Cyanobacteria as phyla model systems, but we also investigate diverse bacterial taxa emerging during our ecological and biotechnological investigations of local and global biodiversity. In addition to the roles played by metabolites in mediating microbial interactions, amongst them and with their hosts, we are interested in deciphering natural products  biosynthetic logics and chemical scaffolds. Building up from this basic knowledge we also develop innovative concept-driven informatics tools for metabologenome mining of natural products, as well as biotechnological applications for the agricultural and health sector. We hope to provide basic scientific knowledge with societal impact in relation to the topics we investigate, placing microbes and their metabolic products at the center of the many challenges faced by human kind, including the Biodiversity crisis.

You can listen to some of my evolutionary ideas surrounding natural products at the JGI Natural Prodcast.  

Grants and prizes

Before joining IBL in 2022, I sustained a Newton Advanced Fellow of the Royal Society, United Kingdom, and was a full professor in Mexico (SNI-3).

Key publications

  • González-Salazar, L. A., Quezada, M., Rodríguez-Orduña, L., Ramos-Aboites, H., Capon, R. J., Souza-Saldívar, V. ..., Barona-Gomes, F.  & Licona-Cassani, C. (2023). Biosynthetic novelty index reveals the metabolic potential of rare actinobacteria isolated from highly oligotrophic sediments. Microbial Genomics9(1), 000921.
  • Chevrette, M. G., Gutiérrez-García, K., Selem-Mojica, N., Aguilar-Martínez, C., Yañez-Olvera, A., Ramos-Aboites, H. E., ... & Barona-Gómez, F. (2020). Evolutionary dynamics of natural product biosynthesis in bacteria. Natural product reports37(4), 566-599.
  • Gutiérrez-García, K., Bustos-Díaz, E. D., Corona-Gómez, J. A., Ramos-Aboites, H. E., Sélem-Mojica, N., Cruz-Morales, P., ..., Barona-Gomes, F. & Cibrián-Jaramillo, A. (2019). Cycad coralloid roots contain bacterial communities including cyanobacteria and Caulobacter spp. that encode niche-specific biosynthetic gene clusters. Genome Biology and Evolution11(1), 319-334.

Click here for an updated list of references, Google Scholar or ORICD.

Other responsibilities

  • Responsible for the IBL Bioinformatics facility, The Bioinformatics Atelier, coordinated by Bastienne Vriesendorp 
  • Strong advocate of the Leiden Biodiversity network, a bottoms-top initiative to make our University and City the place to be if interested in mitigating the Biodiversity crisis. LB network is coordinated by Frederic Lens, Naturalis and IBL.
  • I have served as scientific advisor to Koppert BV and her sister spin-off company Endogenomiks. 
  • Academic editor for Microbial Genomics, published by the Microbiology Society of the UK. 

Associate Professor

  • Science
  • Instituut Biologie Leiden
  • IBL Plant Sciences

Work address

Sylviusweg 72
2333 BE Leiden



  • No relevant ancillary activities
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