Our research focuses on understanding the environmental contribution to Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). We integrate in vivo and in vitro approaches to understand how environmental exposures (endocrine disrupting chemicals; EDCs) during prenatal life can induce adaptive mechanisms in the developing organism leading to pathological outcomes in the offspring. We specialize in the study of complex integrative physiology using animal models and in particular large mammals, such as the sheep, for their outstanding similarities to humans during fetal life.
Main projects in the laboratory focus on: 1) the effects of EDCs on placental function, specifically trophoblast fusion and 2) the understanding of the underlying mechanisms by which EDCs can program an obesogenic phenotype coupled with insulin resistance. We combine a variety of physiological tests (gestational exposures, ultrasonography, body composition, surgical approaches, reproductive cycle manipulation, insulin sensitivity testing, and hormonal profiling) in combination with in vitro approaches such as cell culture, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, protein expression, metabolomics analyses, quantitative gene expression, and RNA sequencing. The combination of these approaches has proven to provide answers to complex questions addressing the effects of gestational exposures to EDCs on postnatal outcomes in the offspring, as well as basic questions regarding basic reproductive physiology.