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Marcus A. Garcia, PharmD

Garcia Marcus PFTM24
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Translational Medicine, 2024 University of New Mexico

Exploring Chylomicron-Mediated Microplastic Translocation to the Placenta: Implications for Maternal and Fetal Health


Microplastics (MPs), <5mm particles, increasingly pollute from plastic degradation in landfills, oceans, and water, posing health risks. Recent research probes MPs’ interaction with the vital human placenta, essential for fetal health. It investigates how chylomicrons help microplastics enter placental tissue, possibly compromising the barrier and cellular response. Quantitative analysis shows full-term human placentas contain 130ug/g of plastics, mainly polyethylene (53%), polyvinyl chloride (10%), nylon (8.7%). Preliminary data suggest plastics negatively affect infant APGAR scores, implying harm from current contamination. This study deepens our understanding of microplastics, placental function, and fetal development. Identifying chylomicrons’ role in microplastic uptake and its consequences informs strategies to mitigate contamination and provides insight on overall maternal and fetal health outcomes associated with microplastic exposure.

As a pharmacist and toxicologist, this honor resonates deeply with the significance of my research in addressing the urgent global issue of microplastic pollution and its effects on human health. This award propels my research forward, providing vital resources that will significantly impact the trajectory of microplastic research. With this award, I am empowered to expand my investigations, collaborate with experts across disciplines, and amplify awareness of the critical importance of microplastic research. It allows me to extend my reach, influence policy, and drive meaningful change towards a cleaner, healthier future.

Marcus A. Garcia