Developmental Biology in Chile: historical perspectives and future challenges
Published: 27 August 2020
Miguel l. Concha*,1,2,3 and Iskra A. Signore1,2,3
1Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Chile, 2 Biomedical Neuroscience Institute and 3Center for Geroscience, Brain Health and Metabolism, Santiago, Chile
Developmental Biology is a growing discipline in Chile. It started in the 1950s when Luis Izquierdo challenged the traditional descriptive perspective of embryology and comparative anatomy to explore the mechanisms underlying the origin of form. After this initial drive, Claudio Barros, beginning in the late 1960s and Juan Fernández, in the late 1970s, contributed with unique and complementary facets to the early growth of the discipline. In the 1980s, the community of developmental biologists created its first forms of association together with the reproduction biology community, and in 1993 the first international course of developmental biology was organised. During the 1990s and 2000s, a group of young investigators arrived in Chile after postdocs in Europe and the US to build the first research centres of developmental biology, fostering the discipline to an unprecedented level. In the 2010s, as these centres consolidated, a stream of young developmental biologists established new labs at several institutions, expanding the community size and broadening its scope. The recent organisation of developmental biology meetings fostered the sense of community and nurtured the need of formal organisation, setting the bases for the foundation of the Chilean Society for Developmental Biology. Today, the community of developmental biologists is a mix of young and experienced investigators working in a variety of geographical locations, institutions, topics and model organisms. These characteristics are a strength of an active community that is pushing the discipline to the next level, aiming to make it a relevant actor in national and international settings.