Natalia Villanueva Rosales

Assistant Professor in Computer Science· The University of Texas at El Paso·

My work aims to to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the discovery, integration, and trust of scientific data and models. My approaches link human and machine knowledge to address societally-relevant problems in areas that require interdisciplinary research and international collaborations such as sustainability of water resources and Smart Cities. I am passionate about encouraging and supporting women and Hispanics pursuing a career or education in Science and Engineering.

In 2011, I obtained a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carleton University (Canada) with the thesis "Formalizing Relational Databases as OWL Ontologies". I also hold a M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh (UK) with the thesis "Learning Heuristic Const Functions for Planning using Genetic Programming". I have Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the "Universidad Panamericana Campus Aguascalientes" and a double-major in Statistics from the Center for Mathematics Research (Mexico).


Assistant Professor

The University of Texas at El Paso

Tenure-track Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the Department of Computer Science.

Co-Principal Investigator at the NSF-funded CyberShARE Center of Excellence

2013 - Present

Research Assistant Professor

The University of Texas at El Paso

Research Assistant Professor at the NSF-funded CyberShARE Center of Excellence

2012 - 2013

Research and Teaching Assistant

Carleton University

Research Assistant at the Dumontier Lab and Human Oriented Technology (HOT) Lab.

Teaching Assistant at the School of Computer Science.

2005 - 2011

IT Director, Department Chair

Polytechnic University of Aguascalientes

IT Director in charge of IT Infrastructure and Services of the University.

Chair of the Mechatronics Department

2003 - 2004


Panamerican University Campus Aguascalientes

Teaching computer science courses, degree plan reviews and advising.

2002 - 2003

Head of the Information Processing Department

Ministry of Education in Aguascalientes

In charge of scholarships and student loans processing at the Directorate of Scholarships.

1999 - 2001


The amount of scientific data has dramatically increased with an expectation of 44 trillion gigabytes of digital data in 2020. Manual processing of scientific data is no longer scalable. My research aims to improve the automated discovery, integration, analysis and interpretation of scientific data by providing context, or meaning to information using Semantic Web technologies. The impact of my work can be clearly appreciated when it is applied to interdisciplinary research, where a key challenge is the integration of data and repurpose of models and resources. My work has been recently applied in the areas of Smart Cities and Water Sustainability.

I was part of the Dumontier Lab working under the supervision of Michel Dumontier. I have previously worked in the areas of Evolutionary Computation and other related AI areas.

I lead the iLink Research Group at the NSF-Funded Cyber-ShARE Center of Excellence at UTEP. Learn more about our current projects here.


A complete list of publications can be found on my Google Scholar page.

  • Vargas Acosta, R.A., Garnica Chavira, L., Villanueva-Rosales, N., Pennnington, D. 2018. Towards SWIM Narratives for Sustainable Water Management. 2nd International Workshop on Enabling Open Science collocated with ISWC 2018.
  • Garnica Chavira,L., *Caballero, J., Villanueva-Rosales, N., Pennnington, D. 2018. Semi-structured Knowledge Models and Web Service Driven Integration for Online Execution, Visualization and Sharing of Water Sustainability Models. International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software. Forth Collins, Colorado.
  • Villanueva-Rosales, N., Garnica Chavira, L., *Rajkarnikar Tamrakar, S., Pennnington, D., Vargas-Acosta, R.A., Ward, F., Mayer, A. 2017. Capturing Scientific Knowledge for Water Resources Sustainability in the Rio Grande Area. In Proceedings of the Workshops and Tutorials of the 9th International Conference on Knowledge Capture.
  • Mejia, D., Torres, E., Villanueva-Rosales, N., Cheu, K. (2017)Integrating Heterogeneous Freight Performance Data for Smart Mobility. In: 2017 IEEE International Conference on Smart City Innovations (IEEE SCI 2017). [Website]
  • Villanueva-Rosales, N., Garnica-Chavira L., Larios V., Gomez L, Aceves E. 2016. Semantic-enhanced Living Labs for better interoperability of Smart Cities solutions. In: 2016 IEEE International Conference on Smart Cities (ISC2). Turin, Italy. [Website]
  • Larios, V. M., Gomez, L., Villanueva-Rosales, N., Mora, O. B., Maciel, R. 2016. Living labs for smart cities: A use case in Guadalajara city to foster innovation and develop citizen-centered solutions. In: 2016 IEEE International Conference on Smart Cities (ISC2). Turin, Italy. IEEE Xplore Digital LIbrary. [Website]
  • Villanueva-Rosales, N., Cheu, R., Gates, N., Rivera, N., Mondragon, O., Cabrera, S., Ferregut, C., Carrasco, C., Nazarian, S., Taboada, H., Larios V., Barbosa-Santillan, L. Svitek, O., Horak, T., Prochazkova, D. 2015. Collaborative, Interdisciplinary Initiative for a Smart Cities Innovation Network. In Proceedings of the 1st IEEE International Smart Cities Conference (ISC2). Guadalajara, Mexico. IEEE Xplore Digital Library. [Website]
  • Villanueva-Rosales, N., Del Rio, N., Pennington, D., Garnica Chavira, L. 2015. Semantic Bridges for Biodiversity Sciences. In Proceedings of the 14th International Semantic Web Conference, Bethelem, PA, USA. 9367:310-317. Springer International. Nominated to Best paper. [Website]
  • Villanueva-Rosales, N., Garnica Chavira, L., Del Rio, N., Pennington, D. 2015. eScience through the integration of data and models: a biodiversity scenario. 11th IEEE International Conference of eScience. 171-176. Munich, Germany. IEEE Computer Society. [Website]
  • Dumontier, M., Baker, C., Baran, J., Callahan, A., Chepelev, L., Cruz-Toledo, J., Del Rio, N., Duck, G., Furlong, L., Keith, N., Klassen, D., McCusker, J., Queralt-Rosinach, N., Samwald, M., Villanueva-Rosales, N., Wilkinson, M., Hoehndorf, R. The Semanticscience Integrated Ontology (SIO) for Biomedical Research and Knowledge Discovery. 2014. Journal of Biomedical Semantics, 5(14). [Website]
  • Peters, D. P.C., Havstad, K. M., Cushing, J., Tweedie, C. E., Fuentes, O., Villanueva-Rosales, N. Harnessing the power of big data: infusing the scientific method with machine learning to transform ecology. 2014. Ecosphere 5(6). [Website]
  • Del Rio, N., Villanueva-Rosales, N., Pennington, D. , Benedict, K., Stewart, A., Grady, C.J. 2013. "ELSEWeb meets SADI: Supporting Data-to-Model Integration for Biodiversity Forecasting" 2013. AAAI Fall Symposium on Discovery Informatics. [PDF]
  • A. Gandara, N. Villanueva-Rosales. 2012. "Documenting and Sharing Scientific Research over the Semantic Web" International Conference on Knowledge Management and Knowledge Technologies (i-KNOW'12). Graz, Austria. [Website]
  • M. Dumontier, L. Ferres, N. Villanueva-Rosales. "Modeling and Querying Graphical Representations of Statistical Data" 2009. Journal of Web Semantics. [Website]
  • M. Dumontier, N Villanueva-Rosales."Towards Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Discovery on the Semantic Web" 2009. Briefings in Bioinformatics. [Website]
  • N. Villanueva-Rosales and M. Dumontier. "yOWL: an Ontology-Driven Knowledge Base for Yeast Biologists" 2008. Journal of Biomedical Informatics. [Website]
  • M. Dumontier, L. Ferres, N. Villanueva-Rosales. 2008. "Semantic Annotation and Question Answering of Statistical Graphs" 7th Mexican International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (MICAI 2008), Mexico City, Mexico. [Website]
  • M. Dumontier and N. Villanueva-Rosales. 2008. "Modeling Life Science Knowledge with OWL 1.1" OWL Experiences and Design (OWLED-DC 2008), Washington DC, USA.



The University of Texas at El Paso
2012 - Present .
  • Database Management Systems
  • Web-based Data Integration
  • Cyberinfrastructure Applications for Smart Cities
  • Advanced Databases


The University of Texas at El Paso
2014 - Present .
  • La Red Semántica y sus aplicaciones científicas (Mexico)
  • ARG Workshops - Jumpstarting your Research targeting graduate and undergraduate students, Interdisciplinary collaborations targeting participants of the US-Mexico Smart Cities Exchange program, Interdisciplinary collaborations in the classroom targeting faculty, Elevator Speech targeting undergraduate students.


  • I have been a revieer of the following conferences/journals: AAAI Conference (2018), International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC) 2015-2019, IEEE Smart Cities Innovations 2017-2019, AAAI Discovery Informatics Workshop 2014, Journal of Biomedical Semantics 2014, International Conference on Ambient Assisted Living 2013-2015.
  • Co-chair of the 2nd International Workshop on Enabling Open Science (SemSci) collocated with ISWC 2018, AAAI 2013 Fall Symposium on Discovery Informatics.
  • I have organized and participated in more than 2000 hours of the Hour of Code.


I have been a member of groups that aim to encourage and support women pursuing an education of career in Science or Engineering:

  • Faculty Advisor of the ACM-W WICS student group at UTEP, 2018-present.
  • Chair of the Advancement of Women in Computing Committee, Department of Computer Science at UTEP, 2014-present.
  • Member of the Women’s Advisory Council to the President at UTEP, 2013-2014.
  • Executive Member of the Carleton University Women in Science and Engineering Branch (CU-WISE), 2007-2011.

When I get a chance to go out, I love hiking and camping. When forced indoors, I love cooking and eating Mexican food.