Marcela Serna has worked as a forest engineer sampling flora across a wide range of ecosystems in Colombia as a part of Environmental Impact Studies and Watershed planning. She began working with magnolias as a researcher at Medellin Botanical Garden (1999 to 2005). For her master’s research, she used an index of phylogenetic diversity to establish the highest priority areas in Colombia to conserve, and her doctoral research focused on the ecological interactions of Colombian Magnolias.
She has taught courses in Ecology, Botany, Dendrology, and Conservation Biology and her research focuses on urban trees and endangered plants. Currently, she is a full time Professor of Botany at the Antioquia Institute of Technology in Medellín, Colombia. She has been a lifetime member of Magnolia Society International since 2014, and is also a member of the Asociación Colombiana de Botánica, the Asociación Latinoamericana de Botánica and the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.