Marcela holds a Degree in Psychology from the Catholic University of Valparaiso in Chile (1998). She received a Doctoral Degree from the University of Barcelona in 2011. She worked in clinical psychology, community assessment and interventions of vulnerable groups. Afterwards, she commenced her research experience and joined the Tobacco COntrol Unit in 2004.
Her research areas are epidemiology and tobacco control, the measurement of passive exposure to tobacco smoke and electronic cigarettes. She is the author of more than 50 indexed scientific articles; she has presented a number of conference papers at national and international congresses and has participated in about a dozen of competitive research projects.