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Luis E. Fernandez is Research Associate Professor of Biology at Wake Forest University, and the Executive Director of the Wake Forest University’s Center for Amazonian Scientific Innovation (CINCIA), a research initiative that examines the impacts of artisanal gold mining on deforestation and biodiversity conservation in rainforest ecosystems in the Peruvian Amazon.
Trained as a tropical ecologist, Luis Fernandez is an expert on the environmental impacts of artisanal scale mining on tropical landscapes, particularly on the effects of mercury contamination on wildlife and indigenous communities. Luis has led research efforts to study and address mining-related environmental impacts in Peru, Brazil, Colombia, and Madagascar. He has held positions at Stanford University, Carnegie Institution for Science, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Argonne National Laboratory, and the University of Michigan.
His research and policy work has been profiled in numerous news reports including CNN, NPR, Washington Post, the PBS Newshour, Mongabay, Le Monde, and the Associated Press. Luis serves on the governing and advisory boards of the Amazon Aid Foundation, Environmental Health Council, OroEco, and the United Nations Environmental Programme’s planetGOLD programme. In 2009, the USEPA awarded Luis the agency's highest award, the EPA's Gold Medal for Outstanding Service, for his work on the dynamics of mercury in the Amazon Basin.