TED Fellow Armando Azua-Bustos studies how microbial life has adapted to survive in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth.

Why you should listen

Astrobiologist Armando Azua-Bustos is the CEO of Atacama Biotech, where he's working to find and characterize species that are able to survive in the extreme conditions imposed by the Atacama Desert in Chile. In the past few years, a range of different lifeforms have been discovered in the Atacama, showing fascinating adaptations to extremely low water availability, high UV radiation, high salinity and other environmental stresses. For these same reasons, the desert is considered as a good analog model of the planet Mars. Azua-Bustos is a TED Fellow. He earned a PhD in molecular genetics and microbiology as well as an MSc in biological sciences and an MSc in biochemistry.

Armando Azua-Bustos’ TED talk