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Ms Lina M Zapata Restrepo B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. (Hons)

Postgraduate research student

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Lina M Zapata is Postgraduate research student within Engineering and Physical Sciences (Centre for Environmental Science) at the University of Southampton.

I am a Biologist with a background in environmental research, specifically carrying out environmental studies involving genetic toxicology, environmental mutagenesis, ecotoxicology, analysis of environmental contamination, and In vivo and vitro methods for studying the effects of exposure to anthropogenic and other naturally occurring chemicals in the environment.

After my undergraduate study, I worked as a researcher in Environmental Modeling and Management Research Group –GAIA (University of Antioquia) in a series of projects using genotoxicity biomarkers in the assessment of pollution effects in fish (Oreochromis niloticus), turtles (Trahcemys callirostris) and human samples.

I completed a M.Sc. in Biology at the University of Antioquia (Colombia). During this degree, I developed a Research Project based on Trachemys callirostris as a biomonitor for mercury contamination and its genotoxic effects in areas impacted by mining activities in Colombia. This project was executed in a collaboration between the Environmental Modeling and Management Research Group –GAIA- and the Herpetological Group of Antioquia –GHA- under the supervision of Jaime A. Palacio Baena, Brian C. Bock and Luz Y. Jimenez.

After my Master study, I participated as a co-principal researcher in a project exploring the genotoxic and epigenetic effects of particulate matter samples at six sites of Aburrá Valey - Antioquia and as a research assistant in a long-term ecological monitoring programme on neotropical otter (Lontra longicaudis) populations in the area of influence of the reservoir Porce III - Antioquia.

Laboratory-based in vitro and in vivo studies have become an important approach used to understand the consequences of environmental exposure to different pollutants. However, understand the effect of environmental pollution on living organisms and natural populations requires in situ studies to examine the current conditions where they inhabit. All these methods for testing and understanding the potential effect of certain compound (or a complex mixture of pollutants) are widely used in environmental monitoring studies. In combination experience with these methods, my degrees and participation in different projects have laid the motivation and capacities for doing my current PhD project under the supervision of Dr. Malcolm Hudson, Prof. Ian Williams, Dr. Chris Hauton and Dr. Antony Jensen.

Research interests

I have been interested in genetic toxicology, environmental mutagenesis and ecotoxicological effects caused by environmental pollution. For this reason, I have studied the effects of environmental pollutants on biological organisms. It is important to understand the ability of chemical, physical and biological agents to damage the DNA and/or chromosomes of cells, and especially if this damage can cause heritable mutations.  

Anthropogenic chemicals in the aquatic environment are known to cause reproductive disturbances in vertebrate and invertebrate organisms, by interfering with the endocrine systems. So currently I am interested in understanding the cellular and molecular responses to endocrine-modulators and the impact on organisms reproduction and physiological effects.

PhD research

Title: Environmental determinants of gender in the native oyster Ostrea edulis, a model species for environmental pollution in coastal marine ecosystems

Supervisors: Dr. Malcolm Hudson, Prof. Ian Williams, Dr. Chris Hauton and Dr. Antony Jensen

Funded by Colciencias (Colombian scholarship) and the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at University of Southampton

My interests focus on biological and reproductive processes of a collapsing population of the European flat oyster O. edulis in the Solent recognizing the main factors that can affect reproductive parameters in O. edulis, such as temperature and pollution. Understanding the effects of temperature increases alongside pollutants mimicking hormones have important implications for fisheries’ managers and restoration activities. I am particularly interested in looking at the effects of temperature, hormones and different pollutants on different reproductive parameters, identifying the mechanism for gametogenesis, sex change and sex ratio in this species. Analysis will include measure of biometric parameters, histology, concentration of hormones and biochemical profile under laboratory settings and natural conditions obtaining more information about reproductive processes in this species.


Research group

Centre for Environmental Sciences

Research project(s)

TRANSPLAS – Developing a Transnational Plastics Network

In Colombia I used to work as a lecturer in the University of Antioquia for a number of modules including General Biology, General Ecology, Science Fundamentals and Ecology of Andean Zones.

During my PhD, I have demonstrating responsibilities for a number of core and option modules within the four-year MEnvSci Environmental Science course, including ENVS1006, ENVS2006, ENVS2011-6034 ENVS2007, ENVS6006 and SOES6051.

Ms Lina M Zapata Restrepo
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

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