I am currently a researcher at the University of León (Spain), mainly dedicated to the study of many aspects of the spermatology of wild and domestic small ruminants. My attention is dedicated both to basic topics —such as apoptotic markers in mature spermatozoa, oxidative stress or DNA damage— and to applied topics —such as improving freezing protocols for the creation of sperm banks.
I studied Biology in the University of León, graduating in 1999. Afterwards, I carried out my masters (“tesina”) in the Aquaculture group with Dr. Paz Herráez, studying the resistance of rainbow trout to osmotic stress. I went on as a Ph. D. candidate in the Biology of Reproduction group. During my Ph. D. I studied the collection and cryopreservation of red deer spermatozoa obtained post-mortem. In parallel, I carried out other research on roe deer and chamois, and collaborated in other research lines of the group (spermatology of companion, domestic and wild animals). I was in charge of the flow cytometry analyses in the different lines of work of the research group, a skill that I could improve while staying with Dr. Heriberto Rodríguez-Martínez and Dr. Anders Johannisson.
After attaining my Ph. D., I obtained a Juan de la Cierva fellowship, moving to the Biology of Reproduction group in the Wildlife Research National Institute (IREC, UCLM-CSIC-JCCM), in Albacete (Spain). Once there, I obtained funding from the regional government in the form of a research project for studying the oxidative stress after cryopreservation of red deer spermatozoa, and its remediation with antioxidants.
During my post-doc, I collaborated with Dr. Elsa Cabrita (then in the CCMAR of Faro, Portugal), working in the kinematics of Senegalese sole spermatozoa and in the effect of oxidative stress in fish semen. I also spent several months in 2007 and 2008 in Brookfield Zoo (Chicago, USA), collaborating with Dr. Aurelio Malo (then in a post-doc in the Smithsonian Institution, USA) and his supervisor Dr. Robert Lacy (Chicago Zoological Society), in a project dedicated to study the effect of inbreeding in captive wild animals, using the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) as a model. My task was to relate captivity groups with sperm traits, a study whose results are still under analysis.
I obtained my current position after applying for the competitive call of the Ramón y Cajal program (Ministry of Science of Spain). Then, I joined the INDEGSAL (Institute for Animal Wealth and Cattle Development) of the University of León, taking over the line of study on small ruminants (sheep and deer). I am involved in other lines of the group, specially those dedicated to basic sperm analyses and wild species, keeping an interest on the zebrafish line, as a potential model for spermatology studies. Currently, I maintain contact with researchers all around Spain on sperm research (fishes, sheep, amphibians, human), and also in other countries (France, UK and Sweden).
Main research lines:
Sperm cryopreservation in ovine cattle