Dona i Salut (DiS), translated as 'Woman & Health' in English, is made up entirely of health professionals (obstetricians, gynecologists, and midwives) who intend to incorporate a research activity into their usual clinical practice.

The group brings together a wide range of approaches, from oncology to obstetric violence. It is strongly committed to a clear and undeniable gender perspective which transversally imbues its areas of study. In fact, the vertebral axis that defines this research group is the integral and respectful consideration of women, particularly in terms of sexual and reproductive health rights. Additionally, the team aims to set up and disseminate a new research methodology which must consider gender dimension as essential cornerstone in each one of the projects.

Keywords: Women, health, pregnancy, oncology, epigenetics, gynecological cancer, gynecology, obstetrics.

Grup de recerca Dona i salut

Group leader

  • Inés Velasco López

    Inés Velasco López

    Dr Velasco combines her clinical experience as obstetrician with a research expertise developed over the last 12-15 years. She holds a master's degree in research methodology which provides her with the theoretical basis to design and set up projects, dynamise research teams and implement the strategies needed to develop any scientific proposal.

    She has led some observational and interventional studies and has been principal investigator of noteworthy competitive research projects. Currently, she manages and gives technical support to all the members and projects within the Woman & Health group.

    Contact: ivelascol.germanstrias(ELIMINAR)
    ORCID: 0000-0002-6143-6970

Research lines

Fetal programming

The fetal origins of health and diseases in adult life requires a detailed analysis of metabolic and inflammatory scenarios during intrauterine life, likely to determine adverse perinatal outcomes. The group will develop an observational study in obese and diabetic pregnant women (as metabolic model of deleterious fetal programming model) and a trial (randomised controlled) study in case of preterm delivery menace (as inflammatory/infectious model).

Gender dimension

The group reinforces its commitment with women's reproductive rights and fight against any form of violence against women through a challenging project called "INLOVE Study", which will design a specific test (questionnaire/scale of measure) to assess the practices and procedures used during induced parts from different viewpoints: women, health professionals and students of medicine.

Gender perspective

The team considers as curcial to assess women's voices, preferences, options, complaints and demands in any gynecological procedures: design of questionnaires or validation of those previously published in cases of cancer, pelvic floor diseases, others.

Epigenetics and endocrine disruptors

Exposure to multiple endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) is an environmental insult that interferes with the development and function of the endocrine system, governed by the hypothalamus-pituitary (HP) axis. This interaction is specially concerning in developmental stages of life, such as the perinatal period and puberty. The project HYPIEND aims to understand the effects of EDC co-exposure in the function and epigenetic programming of the HP axis to delineate interventional strategies for minimising exposure and consequences on the neuroendocrine systemduring the perinatal and pre-pubertal stages.

Breastfeeding action

The group’s collaboration with the Department of Chemistry; Faculty of Experimental Sciences, University of Huelva will continue to determine novel bioactive components in human milk, potentially involved in digestive and neurodevelopment. On the other hand, the team will bring together their database of breast cancer survivors and the experience in breastfeeding counselling in a new study (LMCM-21).


Active projects

Caracterización de Escenarios de Programación Metabólica Adversa: Papel de la Metainflamación Materna en el Imprinting Metabólico Fetal

PIs: Berta Soldevila & Inés Velasco
Funding agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII)
Agency code: PI22/01350
Duration: 01/01/2023 - 31/12/2025

Fetal metabolic programming is the adaptive response of the fetus to the circumstances (genetic, nutritional, environmental) that it encounters in the mother and/or in the placenta, and which have consequences for the rest of the individual's life. From pregnant women with an altered metabolic profile, we will analyse those parameters (clinical and biochemical) linked to complications in the offspring. Objectives: To identify pathological routes of metabolic imprinting in early stages of fetal development, from intrauterine environments of metainflammation and metabolic dysregulation, such as maternal obesity and pregestational diabetes.

HYPIEND: Understanding and preventing the impact of endocrine disruptors on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis in sensitive populations

PI: Biotza Gutiérrez Arechederra (EURECAT); PIs at IGTP: Paula Sol Ventura, Inés Velasco López 
Funding agency: HORIZON-HLTH-2023-ENVHLTH-02
Agency code: 101137440
Duration: 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2028

Rol de la autoinmunidad tiroidea en escenarios de programación metabólica adversa. Estudio TODAY (Thyroid-Obesity-Diabetes Adequate Yield)

PI: Inés Velasco
Funding agency: Fundación Merck Salud
Duration: 01/01/2023 – 31/12/2025

Thyroid autoimmunity (AIT) is present in about 5-15% of women of childbearing age. Obesity aggravates the pathogenic effect of AIT, increasing the risk of hypothyroidism and, conversely, the presence of anti-thyroid antibodies determines the activity of adipose tissue. Similarly, positivity for antithyroid antibodies is more frequent in type I diabetes and, probably, in gestational diabetes. This project aims to elucidate the role of AIT during pregnancy, especially in adverse situations of fetal programming (proinflammatory environment, insulin resistance), and its involvement in the epigenetic regulation and metabolic profile of newborns.

Past projects

Involvement of maternal thyroid function in foetal metabolic programming

PI: Manel Puig & Inés Velasco
Funding agency: ISCIII
Agency code: PI18/01857
Duration: 01/01/2018 - 30/06/2023

Thyroid hormones intervene in key processes of intrauterine growth and development, as well as in processes of metabolic regulation in adults. However, the role of maternal thyroid hormones as an epigenetic modulator of fetal metabolic programming has not been elucidated. Objectives: To analyze the implication of maternal and neonatal thyroid function in different metabolic programming scenarios, as well as the identification of early detection markers of energy expenditure and epigenetic interest.

Scientific publications

Highlighted publications

Arias-Borrego A, Velasco I, Gómez-Ariza JL, García-Barrera T. Iodine deficiency disturbs the metabolic profile and elemental composition of human breast milk. Food Chem. 2022 Mar 1;371:131329. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.131329.

Velasco I, Soldevila B, Julián T, García-Riaño N, Puig-Domingo M. Euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis and COVID-19: A combination to foresee in pregnancy. J Diabetes. 2022 Jan;14(1):88-89. DOI: 10.1111/1753-0407.13237.

Hoová J, Velasco I, Soblechero E, Arias-Borrego A, García-Barrera T. Digging deeper into the mother-offspring transfer of selenium through human breast milk. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 2021 Jun;99:103870. DOI: 10.1016/j.jfca.2021.103870.

Hernández JM, Soldevila B, Velasco I, Moreno-Flores F, Ferrer L, Pérez-Montes de Oca A, Santillán C, Muñoz C, Ballesta S, Canal C, Puig-Domingo M, Granada ML. Reference Intervals of Thyroid Function Tests Assessed by Immunoassay and Mass Spectrometry in Healthy Pregnant Women Living in Catalonia. J Clin Med. 2021 May 31;10(11):2444. DOI: 10.3390/jcm10112444.

Mariscal Martínez A, Vives Roselló I, Salazar Gómez A, Catanese A, Pérez Molina M, Solà Suarez M, Pascual Miguel I, Blay Aulina L, Ríos Gozálvez C, Julián Ibáñez JF, Rodríguez Martínez P, Martínez Román S, Margelí Vila M, Luna Tomás MA. Advantages of preoperative localization and surgical resection of metastatic axillary lymph nodes using magnetic seeds after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer. Surg Oncol. 2021 Mar;36:28-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.suronc.2020.11.013.

Arias-Borrego A, Callejón-Leblic B, Rodríguez-Moro G, Velasco I, Gómez-Ariza JL, García-Barrera T. A novel HPLC column switching method coupled to ICP-MS/QTOF for the first determination of selenoprotein P (SELENOP) in human breast milk. Food Chem. 2020 Aug 15;321:126692. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.126692.

Velasco I, Sánchez-Gila M, Manzanares S, Taylor P, García-Fuentes E. Iodine Status, Thyroid Function, and Birthweight: A Complex Relationship in High-Risk Pregnancies. J Clin Med. 2020 Jan 8;9(1):177. DOI: 10.3390/jcm9010177.

Taylor PN, Muller I, Nana M, Velasco I, Lazarus JH. Indications for treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism and isolated hypothyroxinaemia in pregnancy. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Jul;34(4):101436. DOI: 10.1016/j.beem.2020.101436.

Merced C, Goya M, Pratcorona L, Rodó C, Llurba E, Higueras T, Cabero L, Carreras E; PECEP-RETARD Trial Group. Cervical pessary for preventing preterm birth in twin pregnancies with maternal short cervix after an episode of threatened preterm labor: randomised controlled trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Jul;221(1):55.e1-55.e14. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.02.035.

Velasco I, Bath SC, Rayman MP. Iodine as Essential Nutrient during the First 1000 Days of Life. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 1;10(3):290. DOI: 10.3390/nu10030290.

Velasco I, Taylor P. Identifying and treating subclinical thyroid dysfunction in pregnancy: emerging controversies. Eur J Endocrinol. 2018 Jan;178(1):D1-D12. DOI: 10.1530/EJE-17-0598.

Pratcorona L, Goya M, Merced C, Rodó C, Llurba E, Higueras T, Cabero L, Carreras E; Trial Group. Cervical pessary to reduce preterm birth <34 weeks of gestation after an episode of preterm labor and a short cervix: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Jul;219(1):99.e1-99.e16. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2018.04.031.

Velasco I, Taylor P. The role of levothyroxine in obstetric practice. Ann Med. 2018 Feb;50(1):57-67. DOI: 10.1080/07853890.2017.1387928.

Santos C, García-Fuentes E, Callejón-Leblic B, García-Barrera T, Gómez-Ariza JL, Rayman MP, Velasco I. Selenium, selenoproteins and selenometabolites in mothers and babies at the time of birth. Br J Nutr. 2017 May;117(9):1304-1311. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114517001155.

Paredes P, Vidal-Sicart S, Campos F, Tapias A, Sánchez N, Martínez S, Carballo L, Pahisa J, Torné A, Ordi J, Carmona F, Lomeña F. Role of ICG-99mTc-nanocolloid for sentinel lymph node detection in cervical cancer: a pilot study. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2017 Oct;44(11):1853-1861. DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3706-4.



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