Departamental II – DII. 237
Area of Biodiversity and Conservation
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
c/ Tulipán, s/n.
E-28933 Móstoles (Madrid)

Phone: +34 91 488 7397
Fax:      +34 91 664 7490
E-mail: myriam.catala at

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Short CV

1991 Degree in Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry (UCM).

1993 Masters with Honors in Biochemistry, Faculty of Chemistry (UCM).

1994-97 Responsible of the ERASMUS BUREAU for the Faculties of Science (UCM).

1997-2000 Assistant for the Vice-Rector of International Affairs (URJC).

2001-03 Adjutant Teacher in Histology. Faculty of Health Science (URJC).

2001 Predoctoral Fellowship of Pfizer SA at the area of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the Faculty of Health Science (URJC).

2002 PhD Chemistry (Prog. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) Complutense University (UCM).

2003 Assistant Professor in Cell Biology (Interim) . Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC). Madrid.

2012 Associate professor (URJC).

2015-2016 Chief of the Area of Environmental Toxicology of the Centro Nacional de Sanidad Ambiental (ISCIII)

Current position

Associate professor (senior lecturer).

I teach Cell Biology (degree in Biology, degree in Experimental Sciences), Biology I (degree in Food Science) and Environmental Pollution and Diversity at the master level.

Research interests

Keywords: oxidative stress, NO, abiotic stress, lichens, free radicals, microalgae, symbiosis.

My interest for oxidative stress and nitric oxide metabolism dates back to my PhD research work, when the research on free radicals in biomedicine had just begun. I worked on glutathione quantification and the determination of the enzymatic activity of classical antioxidants such as cytosolic and mitochondrial SOD, glutathione reductase and glutathione peroxidase. I also studied the role of NO in hepatic regulation of oxidative status and the release of intracellular free radicals by flow cytometry.

Nowadays, my interest in free radicals and NO metabolism and regulation is as strong as previously but the models for my research have widened, from invertebrates to vertebrates, from mammals to fish and from plants to lichens. The development of new sensitive biomarkers for the assessment of environmental toxicity has led me to study free radical release and lipid peroxidation in response to micro- and emerging pollutants. My most recent line of research addresses the oxidative balance and regulation of NO during lichens rehydration stress, an extremely new approach that has deserved several Q1 publications. Our results on lichen NO physiology supply the first evidences to support the hypothesis formulated by Martin & Feelisch in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, postulating a role for NO as a key molecule in the evolution of biological symbioses including mitochondrion-eukaryote cell endosymbiosis.

During 2016, I was designated as Head of the Environmental Toxicology Area (TA) of the National Centre for Environmental Health (CNSA). I participated in an European Human Biomonitoring Initiative to a H2020 call backed by the E. Commission where CNSA leads 1 of the 3 pillars and 2 WP. Currently, I have returned to URJC where I continue with my previous research lines, especially involved in lichen symbiosis cell biology and abiotic stress tolerance mechanisms. I currently participate in a Spanish National Plan funded project and in an Excellence Prometeo project of the Comunitat de València both coordinated by Prof. Eva Barreno.


Molina, M. C.; Bautista, L. F.; Catalá, M.; de las Heras, M. R.; Martínez-Hidalgo, P.; San-Sebastián, J.; González-Benítez, N. (2020). From laboratory tests to the ecoremedial system: the importance of microorganisms in the recovery of PPCPs-disturbed ecosystems. Applied Sciences 10: 3391.

Expósito, J. R.; San Román, S. M.;Barreno, E.; Reig-Armiñana, J.; García-Breijo, F. J.; Catalá, M. (2019). Inhibition of NO biosynthetic activities during rehydration of Ramalina farinacea lichen thalli provokes increases in lipid peroxidation. Plants 8: 189.

De las Heras, R.; Rodríguez-Gil, J. L.; San Sebastián Sauto, J.; Sánchez Sánchez, P.; Catalá, M. (2018). Analysis of lipid peroxidation in animal and plant tissues as field-based biomarker in Mediterranean irrigated agroecosystems (Extremadura, Spain). Journal of Environmental Science and Health B 53: 567-579.

de Carvalho, R. C.; Catalá, M.; Branquinho, C.; Marques da Silva, J.; Barreno, E. (2017). Dehydration rate determines the degree of membrane damage and desiccation tolerance in bryophytes. Physiologia Plantarum 159: 277-289.

González-Alonso, S.; Merino, L. M.; Esteban, S.; de Alda, M. L.; Barceló, D.; Durán, J. J.; López-Martínez, J.; Aceña, J.; Pérez, S.; Mastroianni, N.; Silva, A.; Catalá, M.; Valcárcel, Y. (2017). Occurrence of pharmaceutical, recreational and psychotropic drug residues in surface water on the northern Antarctic Peninsula region. Environmental Pollution 229: 241-254.

Rodríguez-Romero, A. J.; Rico-Sánchez, A. E.; Catalá, M.; Sedeño-Díaz, J. E.; López-López, E. (2017). Mitochondrial activity in spores of Cyathea costaricensis as an indicator of the impact of land use and water quality in rivers running through cloud forests. Chemosphere 189: 435-444.

Traba, H. M.; Domínguez-Morueco, N.; Barreno, E.; Catalá, M. (2017). Lichen microalgae are sensitive to environmental concentrations of atrazine. Journal of Environmental Science and Health B 52: 223-228.

Esteban, S.; Moreno-Merino, L.; Matellanes, R.; Catalá, M.; Gorga, M.; Petrovic, M.; de Alda, M. L.; Barceló, D.; Silva, A.; Durán, J. J. (2016). Presence of endocrine disruptors in freshwater in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region. Environmental Research 147: 179-192.

Esteban, S.; Llamas, P. M.; García-Cortés, H.; Catalá, M. (2016). The endocrine disruptor nonylphenol induces sublethal toxicity in vascular plant development at environmental concentrations: A risk for riparian plants and irrigated crops?Environmental Pollution 216: 480-486.

Catalá, M.; Domínguez-Morueco, N.; Migens, A.; Molina, R.; Martínez, F.; Valcárcel, Y.; Mastroianni, N. (2015). Elimination of drugs of abuse and their toxicity from natural waters by photo-Fenton treatment. Science of the Total Environment 520: 198–205.

García-Cambero, J. P.; García-Cortés, H.; Valcárcel, Y.; Catalá, M. (2015). Environmental concentrations of the cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine induced sublethal toxicity in the development of plants but not in a zebrafish embryo–larval model. Journal of Hazardous Materials 300: 866-872.

Domínguez-Morueco, N.; Moreno, H.; Barreno, E.; Catalá, M. (2014). Preliminary assessment of terrestrial microalgae isolated from lichens as testing species for environmental monitoring: lichen phycobionts present high sensitivity to environmental micropollutants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 99: 35-44.

Catalá, M.; Gasulla, F.; Pradas del Real, A. E.; García-Breijo, F.; Reig-Armiñana, J. (2013). The organic air pollutant cumene hydroperoxide interferes with NO antioxidant role in rehydrating lichen. Environmental Pollution 179: 277-284.

Esteban, S.; Fernández Rodríguez, J.; Díaz López, G.; Núñez, M.; Valcárcel, Y.; Catalá, M. (2013). New microbioassays based on biomarkers are more sensitive to fluvial water micropollution than standard testing methods. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 93: 52-59.

Feito, R.; Valcárcel, Y.; Catalá, M. (2013). Preliminar data suggest that venlafaxine environmental concentrations could be very toxic to plants. Chemosphere 90: 2065-2069.

Rodríguez-Gil, J. L.; San Sebastián Sauto, J.; González Alonso, S.; Sánchez Sánchez, P.; Valcárcel, Y.; Catalá, M. (2013). Development of cost-effective strategies for environmental monitoring of irrigated areas in Mediterranean regions: traditional and new approaches in a changing world. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 181: 41-49.

Valcárcel, Y.; González Alonso, S.; Catalá, M.; Rodríguez-Gil, J. L.; Castaño, A.; Criado-Álvarez, J. J.; Mirón, I.; Montero, J. C. (2013). Seasonal variation of pharmaceutically active compounds in surface (Tagus River) and tap water (Central Spain). Environmental Science and Pollution Research 20: 1396-1412.

Catalá, M.; Alonso, S. G.; Valcárcel, Y.; Montero, J. C. (2012). Response to the letter to the editor by Maraver et al. (2012). Nicotine traces detected in bottled mineral water. Science of the Total Environment 424: 358-359.

de Carvalho, R. C.; Catalá, M.; da Silva, J. M.; Branquinho, C.; Barreno, E. (2012). The impact of dehydration rate on the production and cellular location of reactive oxygen species in an aquatic moss. Annals of Botany 110: 1007-1016.

Esteban García-Navas, S.; Valcarcel, Y.; Catalá, M.; González Castromil, M. (2012). Physchoactive pharmaceuticals in the watersheds of Galicia. Gaceta Sanitaria 26: 457-459.

Feito, R.; Valcarcel, Y.; Catalá, M. (2012). Biomarker assessment of toxicity with miniaturised bioassays: diclofenac as a case study. Ecotoxicology 21: 289-296.

García-Cambero, J. P.; Catalá, M.; Valcárcel, Y. (2012). River waters induced neurotoxicity in an embryo-larval zebrafish model. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 84: 84-91.

González-Alonso, S.; Valcarcel, Y.; Montero, J. C.; Catalá, M. (2012). Nicotine occurrence in bottled mineral water: analysis of 10 brands of water in Spain. Science of the Total Environment 416: 527-531.

Marugán, J.; Bru, D.; Pablos, C.; Catalá, M. (2012). Comparative evaluation of acute toxicity by Vibrio fischeri and fern spore based bioassays in the follow-up ot toxic chemicals degradation by advanced oxidation processes. Journal of Hazardous Materials 213-14: 117-122.

Valcarcel, Y.; Martínez, F.; González-Alonso, S.; Segura, Y.; Catalá, M.; Molina, R.; Montero Rubio, J. C.; Mastroiani, M.; López de Alda, M.; Postigo, C.; Barceló, D. (2012). Drugs of abuse in surface and tap waters of Tagus basin: heterogeneous photo-Fenton is effective in their degradation. Environment International 41: 35-43.

Valcarcel, Y.; González-Alonso, S.; Rodríguez-Gil, J. L.; Romo-Maroto, R.; Catalá, M. (2011). Analysis of the presence of cardiovascular and analgesic/anti-inflamatory/antipyretic pharmaceuticals in river- and drinking-water of the Madrid region in Spain. Chemosphere 82: 1062-1071.

Valcarcel, Y.; González-Alonso, S.; Rodríguez-Gil, J. L.; Gil, A.; Catalá, M. (2011). Detection of pharmaceutically active compounds in the rivers and tap water of the Madrid region (Spain) and potential ecotoxicological risk. Chemosphere 84: 1336-1348.

González-Alonso, S.; Catalá, M.; Romo-Maroto, R.; Rodríguez-Gil, J. L.; Gil de Miguel, A.; Valcarcel, Y. (2010). Pollution by psychoactive pharmaceuticals in the Rivers of Madrid metropolitan area (Spain). Environment International 36: 195-201.

Rodríguez-Gil, J. L.; Catalá, M.; González Alonso, S.; Romo-Maroto, R.; Valcarcel, Y.; Segura, Y.; Molina, R.; Melero, J. A.; Martínez, F. (2010). Heterogeneous photo-Fenton treatment for the redution of pharmaceutical contamination in Madrid rivers and ecotoxicological evaluation by a miniaturized fern spores bioassay. Chemosphere 80: 381-388.

Catalá, M.; Pagani, R.; Portolés, M. T. (2009). Regulation of hepatocyte glutathione content by hepatic sinusoidal cells activated with LPS: anatomical restrictions. Histology and Histopathology 24: 1541-1550.

Catalá, M.; Esteban, M.; Rodríguez-Gil, J. L.; Quintanilla, L. G. (2009). Development of a naturally miniaturised testing method based on the mitochondrial activity of fern spores: a new higher plant bioassay. Chemosphere 77: 983-988.

Catalá, M.; Pagani, R.; Portoles, M. T. (2007). Short term regulation of hepatocyte glutathione content by hepatic sinusoidal cells in co-culture. Histology and Histopathology 22: 399-407.

Alfonso, P.; Catalá, M.; Rico, M. L.; Durante, G.; Moro, E.; Fernández, H.; Escribano, J. A. M.; Álvarez, E.; Poblete, E. G. (2004). Proteomic analysis of lung biopsies: differential expression profile from peritumoral to tumoral tissue. Proteomics 4: 442-447.

García-Poblete, E.; Fernández-García, H.; Moro-Rodríguez. E.; Catalá-Rodríguez, M.; E., Rico-Morales, M. L.; García-Gómez de las Heras, M. S.; Palomar-Gallego, M. A. (2003). Sympathetic sprouting in dorsal root ganglia (DRG): A recent histological finding? (review) Histology and Histopathology 18: 575-586.

Fernández-García, H.; García-Poblete, E.; Moro-Rodríguez. E.; Catalá-

Catalá, M.; Portolés, M. T. ( 2002). Action of E. coli endotoxin, IL-1β and TNF-α on antioxidant status of cultured hepatocytes. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 231: 75-82.

Rodríguez, M.; E., Rico-Morales, M. L.; García-Gómez de las Heras, M. S. (2002). Histomorphometrical study of the submandibular gland ductal system in the rat. Histology and Histopathology 17: 813-816.

Rincón Carlavilla, A.; Herrero Alonso, J. A.; Ragel Alcázar, J.; Catalá Rodríguez,  M.; Hernangómez Vázquez, S. (2000). Adecuación de pautas vacunales en viajes internacionales. Vacunas en desarrollo. Pediatrika, 2001, Monográfico.

Catalá, M.; Antón, A.; Portolés, M. T. (1999). Characterization of the simultaneous binding of Escherichia coli endototxin to Kupffer and endothelial liver cells by flow cytometry. Cytometry 36: 123-130.

Portolés, M. T.;  Catalá, M.; Antón, A.; Pagani, R. (1996). Hepatic response to the oxidative stress induced by E. coli endotoxin: Glutathione as an index of the acute phase during the endotoxin shock. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry  159: 115-121.

Book chapters

García-Cortés, H.; Catalá, M.; Rodríguez-Gil, J. L. (2018). Update of the assessment of chronic phytotoxicity using fern spore biomarkers. In: Fernández, H. (ed.) Current Advances in Fern Research: 499-515. Springer, Berlin.

Rodríguez-Romero, A. J.; Sedeño-Díaz, J. E.; López-López, E.; Esteban, M.; Quintanilla, L. G.; Catalá, M. (2018). Recent advances in the use of mitochondrial activity of fern spores for the evaluation of acute toxicity. In: Fernández, H. (ed.) Current Advances in Fern Research: 481-498. Springer, Berlin.

Hichri, I.; Boscari, A.; Meilhoc, E.; Catalá, M.; Barreno, E.; Bruand, C.; Lanfranco, L.; Brouquisse, R. (2016). Nitric oxide: a multitask player in plant-microorganism symbioses. In: Lamatina, L.; García-Mata, C. (eds.) Gasotransmitters in plants: signaling and communication in plants: 239-268. Springer, Berlin.

Catalá, M.; Esteban, M.; Quintanilla, L. G. (2010). Mitochondrial activity of fern spores for the evaluation of acute toxicity in higher plant development. In: Kumar, A.; Fernández, H. (eds.) Working with ferns: issues and applications: 237-247. Springer, New York.

Catalá, M.; Rodríguez-Gil, J. L. (2010). Chronic phytotoxicity in gametophytes: DNA as biomarker of growth and chlorophyll autofluorescence as biomarker of cell function. In: Kumar, A.; Fernández, H. (eds.) Working with ferns: issues and applications: 249-260. Springer, New York.

Catalá, M.; Gasulla, F.; Pradas del Real, A.; García-Breijo, F.; Reig-Armiñana, J.; Barreno, E. (2010). Nitric oxide is involved in oxidative stress during rehydration of Ramalina farinacea (L.) Ach. In the presence of the oxidative air pollutant cumene hydroperoxide. In: Nash III, T.; Geiser, L.; McCune, B.; Tomescu, A. M.; Sanders, W. (eds.) Biology of lichens: symbiosis, ecology, environmental monitoring, systematics and cyber applications: 87-92. J. Cramer Verlag, Lehre.


Use of Ruthenium coordination compounds containing dipyridofenanzine as luminescent markers of cell viability. Patent number ES 2 151 420 A1 published 16/dic/2000
Environmental toxicity fern-based bioassay” Patent number ES 2323401 published 5/mar/2010
Bioensayo de toxicidad ambiental basado en ficobiontes aislados de líquenes. Patente solicitada nº P201330654 (06-05-13)
Inventores: Catalá Rodríguez, M.; Moreno Traba, H.; Domínguez Morueco, N.; Barreno Rodríguez, E.
Entidad titular: Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Universidad de Valencia.
País de prioridad: E.