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Dr Helena Rodriguez Caro

Fellow, Junior Research Fellow

Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics

DPhil, MSc (Oxon), BSc (Navarra)

I am a postdoctoral scientist at Sarah de Val research group at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics, investigating the genetic regulation of cardiovascular development during pregnancy. Specifically, I am looking into how a family of proteins called NFAT transcription factors regulate lymphatic and venous cell-fate by interacting with non-coding regions of the genome called enhancers. This project is funded by the Medical Research Council. I was also recently awarded a COVID-19 Rebuilding Research Momentum Fund, as principal investigator, to complement the above project with advanced bioinformatics.

Previously, I worked as a postdoctoral data manager and analyst in the Oxfordshire Women and Their Children’s Health (OxWATCH) project, at The Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health (NDWRH). This project is an epidemiological study investigating the effect of pre-pregnancy health in pregnancy and maternal predisposition to cardiovascular diseases later in life. I also undertook my DPhil (PhD) in Women’s and Reproductive Health, and MSc in Clinical Embryology at the NDWRH. For my DPhil I was awarded the Rafael del Pino Postgraduate Scholarship (Rafael del Pino Foundation) and the Gustav Born Scholarship in Biomedical Science (St Peter’s College), to study the role of male seminal fluid extracellular vesicles in the enhancement of maternal endometrial receptivity, and its potential to increase the success rates of embryo implantation. During my DPhil, I was also a member of the Blues Sports Performance Scheme as a fencer, and was awarded Full-Blue status. In addition I co-founded a Spanish non-profit to promote access of Spanish students to top Universities worldwide. Prior to this, I graduated in Biochemistry at The University of Navarra (Spain).

During my undergraduate I classified for the Research Training Program in Biochemistry and Biomedicine and I did my final year in The University of Hong Kong (HKU) in an exchange program. In these programs I did two one-year research projects: at the Cardiovascular Department of the Centre for Applied Medical Research (Spain), where I worked onhypertensive heart disease, and at the Biochemistry Department of HKU, where I worked on inner ear development. At this University I was also a member of the UNAV Sport Talent Program.

Outside my research work, I am also very keen on the promotion of science innovation, translation,
entrepreneurship, and communication. Therefore, I actively participate in relevant courses, and events such as the MPLS innovation Leadership Programme for Early Academics, and FameLab. Plus, I  hold memberships and multiple positions of responsibilities at different societies. Currently, I am the Science Communication Manager and & Women in STEM series Co-organizer at the Club of Scientist Rafael del Pino, and member of the NOVA global talent network, and the Society of Spanish Researchers in the UK.