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Dr. Barra received his degree in biochemistry in 1988 from the University of Concepción and is Ph.D. in environmental Sciences from the same university in 1993. He has been postdoctoral research fellow (Marie Curie) at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Milan, Italy during 1995-1996 period.Since 1993 Dr. Ricardo Barra, is at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences/EULA-Chile Environmental Sciences. His areas of specialization are, environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology and regulatory issues.
During the last years Dr. Barra has been working in different areas in the field of environmental chemistry and toxicology, mainly in the field of environmental fate and effects of Persistent Organic Pollutants, emerging contaminants and mercury compounds. In 2001 he was appointed as regional coordinator (South American region) of a project for performing a regionally based assessment of persistent toxic substances, then coordinated by UNEP-Chemicals and in 2003 was part of a team that released a global report for UNEP regarding Persistent Toxic Substances. During 2004-2007 period was appointed by the National Commission on the Environment (CONAMA) on behalf of the Chilean University Council as advisor of the Consultative council of the Commission. Since 2004 was deputy director of Research and Education at the EULA Chile Environmental Sciences Centre, University of Concepción and in 2011 was designated as Director. In October 2007 – December 2008 he was nominated President of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Latin America (SETAC LA). In 2008 he receipts the Bio-Bio regional prize on the Environment granted by the Regional Commission on the Environment and the Presidency of the Biobio region. In 2008 he was nominated as a member for a 4 year period of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) of the Stockholm Convention where he chaired the group for the analysis of the endosulfan proposal to be nominated as POP. In 2011, he was granted with the municipal prize in applied research by the city major of Concepcion. In 2010-2011 he contributed as coordinating lead author to the chapter Chemicals and Wastes in the Global Environmental Outlook GEO-5, released in June 2012 just before the Rio+20 conference. In 2010 he contributes to the development of the GEF Guidance of Emerging chemicals management issues, together with Henk Bowmann (South Africa) and Minh H Wong (Hong Kong, China). In 2014 was appointed as a panel member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). Currently, he is involved in research regarding chemical risks of POPs and emerging contaminants in Chile. He has published over 80 papers in international peer reviewed journals and several book chapters.