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Dr. Carolina Cornejo



collaboratrice technique, responsable de formation


Institut fédéral de recherches sur la forêt, la neige et le paysage WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi PL B 41


Research Interests


I started a professional career at WSL in 2001, first in the Research Unit Biodiversity and since 2015 in the Group Phytopathology of the Research Unit Forest Health and Biotic Interactions.


- Currently, I am studying pine pitch canker caused by Fusarium circinatum, and developing a method to determine molecularly the vegetative compatibility types of Cryphonectria parasitica, the causal agent of chestnut blight.

- Responsible for method development (PCR, sequencing, microsatellites, NGS etc..

- Responsible for supporting and supervising students and scientific guests.

Academic History

2007–2013 PhD at the University of Bern, Institute of Plant Science, and at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL

1996–1998 Postgraduate Study in Environmental Sciences at the University of Zurich, Institute of Environmental Sciences

1988–1993 Study in Plant Cytology at the University of Zurich, Institute of Plant Sciences (Diploma in Biology)

Professional Interests

As scientist, I am interested in organisms living in close associations with other organisms, i.e. from pathogenic to mutualistic associations. During my academic formation, I focused on lichens, mutualistic symbioses between fungi and algae or cyanobacteria. First, during my Master thesis, I applied light and electron microscopic techniques to study the structural interface between fungus and alga. Later, I replaced the microscope by molecular techniques, and I examined during my PhD the character evolution and species delimitation within a lichen genus (Lobaria).

In my occupation as technical staff member, I am interested in developing and optimizing methods. I am a creative mind in molecular lab, without reservations of the organism or the scientific question. I also have a lot of fun working with people from different scientific backgrounds and cultures. Hence, I teach each year several people in molecular techniques, adapted to their specific projects.

Other activities

At home, I am mother of a wonderful teenager. I love to travel in Latin America and to hike in mountains around the world. And, I am a bookworm and read from thrillers over novels to scientific books, in German or Spanish, rarely in English.