Defense of the doctoral thesis of Raquel Soler-Blasco


On July 6, Raquel Soler, a researcher in the INMA Valencia cohort, defended her doctoral thesis entitled “Prenatal exposure to manganese and arsenic and effects on neuropsychological development in children participating in the INMA cohort“,at the Faculty of Nursing and Podiatry of the University of Valencia. Raquel has a degree in Nursing and a Master’s degree in Research in Nursing Sciences and a Master’s degree in Public Health and Health Management. The thesis was supervised by the professor Ferran Ballester, University Professor in the University of Valencia, the Dr. Sabrina Llop, Miguel Servet II Researcher at the Environmental and Health area in FISABIO, and Dr. Mario Murcia, from the Health Information Systems Analysis Service of the Conselleria de Sanitat. The thesis has obtained the qualification of Excellent Cum Laude and International Doctorate mention.

The examining board was made up of expert doctors in the field of exposure to metals and other environmental toxins. The president of the examining board was Dr. Miguel Santibañez, Professor at the University of Cantabria. The secretary was Dr. Marisa Estalich, Professor at the University of Valencia. Finally, the international vocal member was Dr. Martha María Téllez Rojo, a expert researcher in medical sciences at the Nutrition and Health Research Center of the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico.

The main objective of the defended thesis is to study the relationship between prenatal exposure to manganese (Mn) and arsenic (As) and the occurrence of adverse effects on child neuropsychological development in the participants of the Valencia and Gipuzkoa INMA cohorts, as well as to evaluate the factors associated with the exposures. This is a thesis by compilation of publications. In the first publication, the effects of prenatal exposure to manganese on infant neurodevelopment at one year of age were studied. The second study evaluated the exposure to As and its different metabolites, as well as the methylation efficiency during the first trimester of pregnancy, and the factors associated with these variables were identified. The latest publication, published during the year 2022, studied the relationship between prenatal exposure to arsenic and neuropsychological development at 4-5 years of age, identifying the specific effect of each of the As species analyzed in maternal urine