August 2016 spotlight of the month
Facundo Mendes GarridoBiochemist. Doctoral fellow from CONICET.Department of Physiology, School of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.facundomga@gmail.
How did you become interested in research relating to Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease?
I obtained my degree in Biochemistry in 2007. My early research focus was on umbilical vessel pharmacodynamics. In 2009, I became very interested in research related to vascular function and its alterations in hypertension. I am currently working in the Cardiovascular Physiology Lab as a researcher and an active teacher for students of various educational backgrounds.
Describe your research & the program/lab (info of your supervisor) that you are in?
Under the direction of Prof. Cristina Arranz, we study the cardiovascular effects of dietary zinc restriction during fetal life and postnatal growth in rats. My postdoctoral work is focused on vascular morphology, functional alterations and their relationship to the development of hypertension. Moreover, my research focus also expands on the metabolic changes and sex differences observed in zinc-deficient rats.
What do you consider to be your substantial scientific contribution so far (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?
Our group has demonstrated that zinc dietary restriction during intrauterine life and postnatal growth programs cardiac and renal alterations that contribute to the development of hypertension in adulthood (PMID: 24077882). Our results are consistent with the hypothesis of fetal programming in hypertension and highlight the relationship between good nutrition and cardiovascular health. In Argentina, approximately 52% of pregnant women have an inadequate zinc intake, and our research is focused on this population.
Our research group at a Hypertension Meeting in 2015
A lab “selfie”
What is your favourite manuscript from a lab or mentor other than your own (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?
One of my favourite manuscripts is from the English researcher David Barker. He found a strong correlation between ischaemic heart disease mortality rates in England between 1968 and 1978 and infant mortality fifty years ago (PMID: 2871345).
Where do your research strengths lie? Why? What are your research weaknesses?
I enjoy working in groups, and love creativity. My weakness lies in genetics, particularly the epigenetic changes in our experimental models.
Describe your unforgettable (proudest) moment in science, and the most challenging situation that you have had to overcome (lessons learnt) so far? One of my best moments in science was when I performed my first vascular reactivity experiment alone. I was a student at the Phamacology Lab and was responsible for carrying out the protocols all alone, including dissection of umbilical vessels, equipment calibration, drugs preparation - I was really happy to see the vein rings contractile response to serotonin!At the lab I had lots of difficult situations. Problems with techniques, apparatus that don’t work when you need them to, discordant results, etc… I learned they are a part of my work so I must never give up. Perseverance is very important in science, and it is key for my success.
At which conference did you first present? How was your experience?
My first poster presentation was at the 2012 Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego, USA. It was my first international research meeting and the experience was amazing. I was really nervous but made many connections that to this day I am in touch with.
How did you learn about ISH/NIN and its activities? I learned about the ISH through my participation in the ISH-NIC activities that were recently held along with the Argentinian Society of Hypertension meeting. I was honoured to receive the best oral presentation at the 2016 Argentinian Hypertension Congress.
Who is your role model in Science? Why?
My role model is Dr. Analia Tomat, one of my mentors. Her new ideas, brilliance, calmness, and positive outlook on things motivate me to do better at work.
What are your scientific goals? Advice for talented emerging scientists?
My goal is to finish my PhD next year and to continue working not only in science but also in Pharmacy. My advice is to continue to persevere in science for success.