María José Soto Mendez

Professional Career


After studying nutrition at the School of Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences at the Universidad Rafael Landívar, Guatemala, María José Soto started her career at CeSSIAM, Guatemala, as a research fellow in 2007. Because of her scientific performance the Hildegard Grunow Foundation (HGF) accepted to promote her future education.

In 2009 she participated successfully in the V Taller Latinoamericano de Liderazgo en Nutrición, a one-week leadership workshop in Chile, and presented her research on maternal and child nutrition at the Latin American Nutrition Society Congress as well as at the Experimental Biology congress held in Anaheim California. In 2010 María José helped with the arrangements for the II World Public Health Nutrition Congress in Porto, Portugal and presented two posters on maternal diet and fiber consumption there.

She is candidate for the TWAS (Third World Association of Scientists) Award 2015 of the World Academy of Sciences (

On 14th August, 2015 Maria José Soto Mendez was appointed to the Academy of Medical, Physical and Natural Sciences in Guatemala (Academia de las Ciencias Medicas, Físicas y Naturales de Guatemala).


Maria José Soto presenting her poster at the I International Hydration Congress in Madrid  2013

Maria José Soto presenting her poster at the I International Hydration Congress in Madrid 2013

She completed her MSc in Nutrición Humana at the University of Granada, Spain, and started her doctorate, working title: „Study on the normative state and inter- and intra-individual variation in growth, hematology, hydration, and markers of oxidation, infection and inflammation in pre-school children with a similar dietary intake“. Her dissertation fieldwork was carried out in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.

In November 2012 she presented Information on Guatemalan food intake at the Latin American Society Congress in La Habana, Cuba. In July 2013 she went again to Granada in order to finish the laboratory analyses proposed in her dissertation. She presented preliminary results of her dissertation at the Experimental Biology Congress in Boston, Massachusetts, the International Congress of Nutrition in Granada, Spain and the I International Hydration Congress held in Madrid, Spain.

In Madrid Maria José was awarded for the best poster and best oral presentation with the title “Association of urinary biomarkers of cellular oxidation with urine volume and osmolality in Guatemalan preschoolers”. Ms Soto Mendez defended her thesis on October 8 in Granada, Spain and received her doctorate degree.

Poster at the II International Congress on Hydration, held December 2-4, 2015 in Toledo, Spain

Talk at the II International Congress on Hydration: Short-term oral liquid ingestion decreases human milk osmolality


N47: Vitamin D status among indigenous Mayan (Kekchi) and Afro-Caribe (Garifuna) adolescents from Guatemala: a comparative description between two ethnic groups residing on the Rio Dulce at the Caribbean coast in Izabal Province, Guatemala N43: Interaction of Giardia intestinalis and Systemic Oxidation in Preschool Children in the Western Highlands of Guatemala N42: Strong associations exist among oxidative stress and antioxidant biomarkers in the circulating, cellular and urinary compartments in Guatemalan children from the Western Highlands N39: Associations among inflammatory biomarkers in the circulating, plasmatic, salivary and intraluminal compartments in apparently healthy preschool children, from the Western Highlands of Guatemala N38: Variation in hydration status within normative range is associated with urinary biomarkers of sytemic oxidative stress in Guatemalan preschool children N36: The Nutritional Contribution of Foods and Beverages Provided by Government-Sponsored Day Care Centers in Guatemala N34: Urinary osmolality of preschool children with a largely common weekday meal offering, from the western highlands of Guatemala N26: Daily consumption of foods and nutrients from institutional and home sources among young children attending two contrasting day-care centers in Guatemala City N23: Evaluating food menus from day care centers in Guatemala City: Descriptive and analytical approaches for consideration in Nutrition N19: Food variety, dietary diversity, and food characteristics among convenience samples of Guatemalan women N18: Contribution of complementary food nutrients to estimated total nutrient intakes for urban Guatemalan infants in the second semester of life N17: Reproducibility regarding the age of introduction of complementary foods to infants as self-reported by urban and rural low-income mothers in Guatemala N16: Nutrient offerings from the meals and snacks served in four day care centres in Guatemala City N12: Contribution of complementary food nutrients to estimated total nutrient intakes for rural Guatemalan infants in the second semester of life N03: The positive deviance approach can be used to create culturally appropriate eating guides compatible with reduced cancer risk I42: Studies on variation in fecal reactive oxidative species generation in free-living populations in Guatemala