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Screenshot showing online meeting of participants in the initiative

Communications Department
The research seedbed in Fetal Malformations of the GINO research group is conducting research on the use of folic acid and its relationship with fetal malformations. Currently, this research seedbed is conducting a rapid literature review, a preliminary analysis in which several research questions were found.

Precisely, one of the objectives of the research seedbed institutionalization program of the Vice Rector’s Office for Research and Extension, VIE, of the Universidad Industrial de Santander is to train undergraduate students in research methodology and the development of clinical research activities. In this direction, the research seedbed in Fetal Malformations of the GINO research group worked constantly during the year 2021.

The students of the research seedbed developed during that year the training program in research methodology proposed in the VIE call, led by a group of UIS professors, with the participation of national guests: the Library of the Universidad Industrial de Santander and the departments of Gynecobstetrics, Pathology, Pediatrics; the Master in Industrial Engineering of the School of Industrial and Business Studies; the School of History of the Universidad Industrial de Santander; the Universidad de Antioquia, Universidad Manuela Beltrán-UMB and Universidad de Investigación y Desarrollo-UDI, and at the international level, the participation of the Universidad Internacional de Valencia.


Currently, the research seedbed is conducting a literature review to identify questions about the use of folic acid and its relationship with fetal malformations. In its preliminary study, several research questions were found.

Folic acid is one of the health interventions that prevents fetal malformations of the nervous and cardiovascular systems, among other benefits, according to multiple population-based studies that have shown a direct relationship between deficiency of this nutrient and the rate of congenital malformations. However, there are factors that intervene in the availability of this intervention for women before and during pregnancy. Among the factors found are socioeconomic determinants in vulnerable populations (migrants, adolescents, and indigenous people) who may suffer from food insecurity; as well as the presence of other health conditions, such as diabetes and the use of drugs that affect folic acid metabolism.

To counter this deficiency, the reviewed documents mention various strategies for the prevention of fetal malformations through public health interventions aimed at women of reproductive age, especially those who are at socioeconomic risk, as previously identified by research from the School of Nutrition of this university led by Professor Oscar Herrán Falla.

The research highlights the proposal for large-scale food fortification and the creation and implementation of policies that support programs that serve women of reproductive age (preconception health care, measurement of folate levels in the blood, and active identification of the use of drugs that block the effect of folic acid, among others). These programs will allow us to obtain data on the coverage of these strategies in order to continuously improve them.

Members of the research group and seedbed:

The GINO research group is led by Professor Carlos Becerra Mojica, a physician specializing in Maternal Fetal Medicine and a doctoral candidate in the PhD program in Biomedical Sciences at the UIS. In turn, the research seedbed is led by Professor Luz Ángela Gutiérrez Sánchez, a physician specialized in Gynecology and Obstetrics, specialist in Maternal-Fetal Medicine; and a group of professors formed by Diana Katherine Sandoval Martínez, attached to the Department of Pathology; Diana Carolina Bohórquez Camargo, Laura Marcela Pimiento Infante, Laura Catherine Sarmiento Espitia, Nataly Paola Negrette Lopera and Sandra Convers Páez, professors attached to the Department of Gynecobstetrics of the School of Medicine; as well as other doctors graduated from the UIS and undergraduate students of the Medicine program, among which the participation of Julieth Alexandra Guzmán López stands out.