This achievement belongs to several people. First, I would like to thank my family, who has supported me from the moment I decided to study my master' abroad. To my parents, who taught me the value of effort and dedication, while reminding me the importance kindness for others. To Alejandro, for his endless advice, for always reminding me about the important things in life, and for supporting me when I needed it the most. To Luis Diego, for his support and patience, for always being there for me. I would like to thank my major advisor, Dr. Alison Tovar, for giving me the privilege of working under her guidance; it has been an honor to complete my master's degree by your side. Your trust, your inspiring words and your relentless feedback, has truly guided me towards becoming a better researcher. Thank you for all the opportunities provided, for your patience and understanding and for the amazing working environment you have created in the lab. I would also like to thank my committee members, Dr. Maya Vadiveloo and Dr. Mary Greaney, for your assistance and feedback during this entire process. I would like to extend a warm thank you to the professors I have worked with as a TA: Robyn, Sarah L, Sarah A and Amanda. I have learnt tremendously under your instruction and understanding. Without my special, foster, graduate family, I would not have been able to complete successfully this hard work. I would like to thank all my friends in the lab, Noereem, Amy, Katelyn and Maggi, for all the inspiring conversations, the advice and vi support. I would also like to thank Sarah J, Janette, Carolina, Helena, Dara and Alyssa: you added friendship and copious amounts of joy to this journey. Finally, but certainly not least, my friends from back home. I have come to realize how fortunate I am to count on such an incredible bunch. To Mariela and Jose, who received me in their home since day one. I have no words to explain how grateful I am for you. Paola, thank you for your endless help and support during the development of this research.