Camilo Hernández-Avilés

Camilo Hernández-AvilésCamilo Hernández-Avilés, DVM
Doctoral Theriogenology Student
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences

Camilo Hernández-Avilés, DVM is a doctoral student with the Section of Theriogenology in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (VLCS) at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS). He received his DVM at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (National University of Colombia) in 2018. While in veterinary school, he spent three years as an undergraduate research assistant in the theriogenology department, conducting research focused on the validation of fluorescence-based techniques for semen analysis in horses, bulls, boars, and dogs. He also conducted two studies to standardize semen freezing protocols for Paso Fino Horse stallions and working dogs in his native Colombia.

Before receiving his DVM degree, Dr. Hernández-Avilés joined the Section of Theriogenology at Texas A&M as a visiting scholar under the supervision of Dr. Dickson Varner and Dr. Charles Love. During this period, he conducted research focused on the effect of antibiotics and energy substrates on the quality of stallion sperm following cooled storage. After graduation from veterinary school, Dr. Hernández-Avilés and his wife opened a private practice in their native Colombia, offering reproductive consultation for several Paso Fino Horse breeding operations.

In February of 2019, he started his doctoral program under the supervision of Dr. Varner, Dr. Love, and Dr. Terje Raudsepp at the CVMBS. His doctoral thesis is focused on determining the molecular mechanism associated with impaired acrosome reaction in thoroughbred stallions. He is also involved in research related to stallion sperm survival during cooling and freezing, stallion sperm physiology, and the validation of laboratory-based techniques for assessing stallion sperm quality and fertility.

His research interests are related to stallion fertility, with an emphasis in stallion sperm physiology and cryobiology, and the improvement of techniques for stallion sperm analysis and storage.

Dr. Hernández-Avilés’ research findings have been published in various scientific journals, and presented at national and international meetings, such as the 2018 International Symposium on Equine Reproduction and the 2019 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention. He is a co-author of two book chapters about stallion semen evaluation and endometrial cytology in the mare, which will be published in the new edition of the book Diagnostic Cytology and Hematology of the Horse (Wiley).

Current  & Recent Projects:

  • Understanding the molecular mechanism associated with impaired acrosome reaction in Thoroughbred stallions.
    Principal Investigators: Drs. Dickson Varner, Charles Love, Terje Raudsepp and Camilo Hernández-Avilés.
    2019 – Current.

    • This project aims to understand the molecular mechanisms associated with a particular condition affecting a group of subfertile Thoroughbred stallions. This condition was initially discovered by Dr. Varner and co-workers at Texas A&M and is related to marked subfertility in stallions whose semen quality appears to be normal. Although the reason why these stallions were not able to impregnate mares is related to the incapacity of their sperm to undergo the acrosome reaction – and thus bind to the oocyte -, little is known about how this condition occurs from a molecular perspective. The final goal of this project would be to understand this condition in breeding stallions, for the potential development of managing strategies of these type of stallions.
  • The effect of different energy substrates on stallion sperm quality following cooled storage.
    Principal Investigators: Drs. Dickson Varner, Charles Love and Camilo Hernández-Avilés.
    2017 – Current.

    • This project aims to determine which type of energy substrates maintains better stallion sperm quality following cooled storage for short (24 – 48h) or long (4 – 5 days) of storage. The results of this project might help to develop new formulations of extenders for semen storage at low temperatures, that preserve better the quality of stallion sperm.
  • The effect of different antibiotic-types on stallion sperm quality following cooled storage.
    Principal Investigators: Drs. Dickson Varner, Charles Love and Camilo Hernández-Avilés.
    2017 – 2019.

    • This project sought to determine which antibiotic combinations help to control better bacterial populations in stallion semen, without affecting sperm quality. Our first study (2017) found that the use of amikacin-penicillin as an antibiotic in milk-based semen extenders controlled better presence of commensal and pathogenic bacteria after cooling. A subsequent study (2019) found that the addition of amikacin-penicillin at several doses into the INRA-96® extender was related with a higher antimicrobial capacity, without affecting sperm quality or stallion fertility.