"Knowledge of the properties of the stellar population and the star formation activity in galaxies is essential to understand the formation and evolution of galaxies. Multi-wavelength data have been used to parameterize the star formation rate (SFR) of different types of galaxies, but most of them are strongly affected by the presence of dust in the interiors of the star forming regions. Although a considerable analysis has been carried out from a statistical point of view in identifying new SFR indicators, little has been done to corroborate the spatial correlation of the luminosities proposed as tracers of the star formation and the geometries of the gas and dust relative to the positions where the stars form in HII regions. The study of the emission distribution in HII regions at the wavelengths of the recently proposed SFR indicators and its relation to the action of the stellar winds and supernova explosions that strongly affect the distribution of the interstellar medium, offers an opportunity to test the hypotheses that have been previously assumed in the statistical studies.
The research lines presented here will take advantage of the IR Telescope HERSCHEL already launched by the European Space Agency in May 2009. The observations from HERSCHEL have the best spatial resolution ever and represent a key set of data to better understand the role of the dust in star-forming regions. I present here a project that combines HERSCHEL data with multi-wavelength observations in order to perform a study of the stellar, gas and dust components in star forming regions in nearby galaxies. A key goal of this project is to prove the commonly used assumptions in the derivation of SFR indicators for galaxies of different types and environments. With this work I will significantly improve our understanding of the way massive star formation affects galaxy evolution."
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