The placenta, that in Latin means “flat cake”, is an ephemeral organ that connects the fetus to the mother. The placenta facilitates nutrition, respiration, and excretion by the fetus during embryonic development. It also has an endocrine function and protection against external agents.
Drawing of the uterine cavity with the fetus, done by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century
At BiSC we will investigate the placenta at two levels: at the physiological level and at the molecular level. At the molecular one, we will analyze if the epigenome, which is all the chemical marks that regulate the expression of the genes, changes in response to the atmospheric contamination and if this affects the correct development of the fetus. On the other hand, we will also study its structure and functioning.
On March 20 we made a first practice session at “Hospital Sant Joan de Déu” to prepare the protocol for the collection of placental biopsies that will be followed throughout the project.
The text was written by Mariona Bustamante, a BiSC researcher, responsible for the biological samples.