He studied Mathematical Engineering at the University of Chile, where he received the engineering degree in 1990. Immediately after, he moved to France where he obtained the PhD degree in 1994 at the Institut de Mathématiques de Luminy of Aix-Marseille Université in Marseilles. His thesis was focused on the ergodic theory of cellular automata and local entropy theory in topological dynamics, supervised by François Blanchard. After, he moved to the U. of Maryland to work with Mike Boyle and Dan Rudolph in a postdoctoral position focused in the theory created by himself during his PhD to understand local complexity in ergodic theory. In September 1995 he joined the Department of Mathematical Engineering at the University of Chile as assistant professor. In 2000 he joined the newly created UMI-CNRS Center of Mathematical Modeling (CMM) of University of Chile, as associated researcher. That same year he obtained the Habilitation à Diriger la Recherche in France and a bit later he was promoted to full professor at the University of Chile. Since then, he has been conducting fundamental and applied research in both ergodic theory, focused on symbolic and topological dynamics, and new scientific adventures in mathematical biology and bioinformatics.
In 2002 he created the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Mathematics of the Genome (LBMG) at CMM-UChile whose aim is to provide computational and mathematical tools to solve real life biotechnological challenges from a mathematical perspective. This laboratory has being involved in the main genome programs in Chile (salmon, potato, grapes, biomining) and maintains international collaboration with several groups in France and USA. In 2011 he was among the PIs that created the Center for Genome Regulation (CRG) and the LBMG started to be a common laboratory of CMM and CRG. During his scientific life he has led the development of the area of dynamical systems and their applications in biology in Chile. He has trained 17 PhD students in mathematical modeling and 26 students in mathematical engineering and master in applied mathematics, and has mentored over 15 postdocs. All of them now have jobs in academia or industry. His scientific work covers areas ranging from abstract ergodic theory to bioinformatics, and he has written over 140 papers published in mainstream journals. He has also edited 6 books published by Cambridge University Press, Hermann Paris and Kluwer publishers. His contributions to understanding the complexity of dynamical systems from entropy and spectral theory, and his contributions to the genomics of biological systems characteristic of Chile, stand out. His work has received over 5,500 citations (source Google Scholar).
He has also been an active scientific animator, organizing over 30 international events (schools, workshops, congresses) and being invited to give plenary lectures at more than 60 relevant events in his disciplines. His scientific activity has been developed by creating strong international networks with groups in France, USA and China, receiving more than 50 invitations to develop long research stays. He has directed more than 40 research projects in mathematics, systems biology and biotechnology. Highlights include the direction from 2017 to 2021 of the center of excellence Centro de Modelamiento Matemático, a Franco-Chilean center for the development of mathematics and its applications, and the creation of the Center for Genome Regulation. In this context, his work in fundamental science has been combined with biotechnology applications in biomining, aquaculture, human health and agriculture. This work has given rise to 5 patents in more than 10 countries and the creation of the spin-off Diagnofast.
From 2004 to 2006 he was a junior member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences, in 2009 he entered as a member of the Chilean Academy of Engineering and in 2018 was elected as Corresponding Member of the Chilean Academy of Sciences. In 2007 he received the recognition of the French government Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite for scientific achievements and in 2009 he received the Latin American and Caribbean Mathematical Union Prize in recognition for “remarkable work and as a stimulus for further contributions to Mathematics”. Also, during his professional career he has assumed different scientific responsibilities in Chile: President of the National Council of Sciences from 2006 to 2008; and responsible of the Chilean-French cooperation program ECOS-CONICYT since 2007.