Research focus

Our primary research focuses on the southern Chilean air. We perform it on relevant spatial scales, describing the human impact of air pollution on the reproductive system in females and males. To do this, we use an experimental approach and morphological techniques such as histology, stereology, microscopy and geometric morphometry. Our main line of research answers the following research questions: How does air pollution from wood smoke affect human reproduction? What is the impact of intrauterine exposure to wood smoke on fertility? Is there a “family stamp” on individuals whose parents and grandmothers were exposed to wood smoke? What is the critical period of exposure during fetal development?.

As a study model we use rats for their versatility to work with them. We exposed pregnant females directly to air pollution in exposure chambers in one of the most polluted conurbations in Latin America, and evaluated the effects on fetuses. Our main interest are the reproductive results, the morphology of the fetus, bone development, umbilical cord, placenta and other organs. We are currently working on the effect of air pollution on germ cells (sperm and oocytes), the probable effect on sperm function and the probable role it could have on infertility in adult life.

Our secondary research is understanding of morphology of the endangered Patagonian Huemul deer in different ecological niches and its functional interpretation. Using a multidisciplinary approach between veterinarians, ecologists and engineers, combining efforts between Computed Tomography (CT), 3D Geometric Morphometrics (GM) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA).