The arse-scenic life of arsenic in the human body

Speaker: Teresa González de Chávez Capilla

Location: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in Building 6, Level C, Room 12

Arsenic is ubiquitous in the environment and widely available to humans through their diet. Arsenic toxicity depends on the chemical species absorbed and metabolised once inside an organism. The current regulations to prevent overexposure to arsenic are primarily based on inorganic arsenic species, disregarding more than 30 arsenic species also present in food. There are many studies on the effects of inorganic arsenic on human health, however, only recently the focus has shifted towards the consequences of both endogenic and exogenic complex organic arsenic species. This thesis aims to provide insights into poorly understood pathways in the metabolism of these species. The main questions explored are: whether complex organic arsenic species survive the gastrointestinal tract, whether arsenic species diffuse across biological membranes and how the biotransformations of arsenolipids in liver cells occur. The work conducted within this research project is purely fundamental with prospective implications in environmental and public health.

About Teresa

Teresa González de Chávez Capilla is an HDR student at the Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra. Teresa holds a licentiate degree in Chemistry from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM, Spain). During her studies, she did an academic year at the University of Sussex (UK) and an internship at the Department of Chemistry at the UAM working in molecular modelling. After graduating, she was employed as a pre-doctoral researcher in the field of renewable energies at the Institute IMDEA Energy (Madrid, Spain). Her project focused on the development of metal oxide-based electrodes for supercapacitors. While working at IMDEA Energy she got a Master’s degree in Inorganic Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the National Distance Education University (UNED, Spain). Teresa is currently finishing her PhD, which studies the metabolic pathways that complex organic arsenic species undergo in humans.