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Helena Rodriguez Caro

Post-doctoral Fellow

Research Interest 

Cardiovascular development during embryogenesis involves the formation of a complex network of vessels. The lining of these vessels is formed by endothelial cells which differentiate into specific sub-populations creating veins, arteries, capillaries, lymphatics, and endocardium. Vessel specification is regulated by different transcriptional and signalling pathways. My research focuses on understanding the role of Nuclear Factor of Activated T-cells (NFAT) transcription factors in vessel specification, especially in the acquisition of venous or lymphatic identity.   

Biography 

I graduated in Biochemistry at The University of Navarra (UNAV, Spain) in 2014. During my undergraduate degree I qualified for the Research Training Programme in Biochemistry and Biomedicine and I did my final year in The University of Hong Kong (HKU) in an exchange programme. In these programmes I did two one-year research projects: at the Cardiovascular Department of the Centre for Applied Medical Research (Spain) I worked on hypertensive heart disease, and at the Biochemistry Department of HKU I worked on inner ear development. In addition, at the University I was also a member of the UNAV Sport Talent Program as a fencer. Later, in 2015, I obtained an MSc in Clinical Embryology at The University of Oxford; I was awarded the Best Research Project in the MSc. In 2019, I successfully obtained my DPhil (PhD) in Women’s and Reproductive Health also at Oxford University. My DPhil project investigated the role of seminal fluid extracellular vesicles in human endometrial receptivity. I studied their effect on primary epithelial, stromal, and immune cells. This project was possible thanks to the Rafael del Pino Postgraduate Scholarship and the Gustav Born Scholarship in Biomedical Sciences. During my DPhil, I was also a member of the Blues Sports Performance Scheme as a fencer and I was awarded Full-Blue status. Afterwards, I worked at the University as a postdoctoral research assistant in the OxWATCH project at the Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health, in collaboration with the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Facility. In this project, we aimed to assess the effect of pre-pregnancy health on pregnancy cardiovascular health and associated complications in a cohort of young nulliparous women.