About LEO
History and Philosophy


The Laboratory of Experimental Ontogeny (LEO) began its activities in 2003 at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (ICBM) in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile. LEO is the result of a sustained effort by Miguel Concha M.D. Ph.D., a distinguished scientist in the field of ontogenic development, to implement a research and educational initiative in the biomedical sciences.

LEO was conceived during the postdoctoral training of Miguel Concha at University College London (UK) where he performed pioneer research on the ontogenic origin of brain asymmetry in vertebrates. Such scientific contribution was recognised in 2006 by an International Research Scholarship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI, USA).

LEO reflects Miguel Concha's beliefs that only by combining professional growth and personal development we can create an organic working environment that ensures a relevant scientific contribution to society. Such principle guides LEO's activities, which emphasise team-work and the build of quality.

Mission Statement

The mission of LEO is to perform high-level scientific research and to contribute to the advancement of knowledge and development of new scientists in the field of biomedicine.

The approach of LEO is multidisciplinary and systemic, aiming to understand the mechanisms involved in the origin, expression and transformation of biological patterns during ontogeny, both in normal and pathological conditions.

LEO is committed to provide their students, staff members and partners, with team working experiences that combine academic excellence and collaborative interactions, promoting creativity and continuous learning.

Meaning of Name and Logo

Name and logo highlight key scientific principles of LEO.

Ontogeny (also known as ontogenesis) (ontos "to be"; genesis "creation") is defined as the "history of structural change in a unity, which can be a cell, an organism, or a society of organisms, without the loss of organisation that allow that unit to exist" (Maturana and Varela, 1987, p.74). LEO's approach is focused on the history of changes in structure, form and functional organisation during ontogenic development, following a systemic approach and using experimental manipulation as a central strategy to understand the origin, expression, transformation and alteration of these changes.

The central element of analysis (structure), the main approach towards the unity (systemic perpective) and the subject of study (developing organism) are altogether represented in the logo by a fish embryo within its shell (chorion). The concept of constant change is represented by two organisms facing each other, as in Yin and Yang. The ontogenic dimension is depicted by a more developed organism embracing a less developed one. Finally, the four methodological principles (Gene, Morph, Evo-Devo, Biomed) are outlined at the base of the logo.

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