Semana de la Investigacion Clinica y Traslacional

Clinical and Translational Research Week in Puerto Rico Review

The Opening Session of the CTRWPR took place on May 3, 2021.  During this official ceremony, Dr. José Hawayeck, Dean of Academic Affairs for UPR MSC, read the Governor’s Proclamation for the Clinical and Translational Research Week in Puerto Rico.

After the proclamation there was a presentation of the mosaic, ” Supported by Roots” which was chosen as the WCTRWPR’s emblem. The presentation of this artwork was done by Architect Luis A. Rivera-Torresrepresenting the seventeen artists that made this collaborative work, as a response to the COVID-19 situation, which depicts from left to right the somber presence of the virus and towards the right, the bright future after the pandemic.


The plenary lecture was sponsored by HiREC, through its Visiting Scientist Professorship Program. The lecturer was Dr. Gerry Eijkemans, Unit Chief of Health Promotion and Social Determinants of Health for the Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization, discussed: “Challenges and opportunities created by COVID-19, a glance towards the future”.  Dr. Eijkemans summarized the COVID-19 situation throughout the Americas and then presented her perspective on the research and educational agendas for the future to deal with the present challenges. A very active question and answer section followed.



 A celebration of scientific organizations and projects 5th, 10th, and 20th anniversaries was done through a video presentation highlighting the accomplishments throughout the years. Approximately 90 attendees, who included students, faculty, and public, were linked and participated in this enlightening opening session.


The central theme of the Title V symposium was Education for Research and Entrepreneurship during the Pandemic. The symposium, one of the two (since 2019) main activities of the CTRWPR 2021, was held on May 4.

On the 4th Dr. Rubén García-García started the morning session with a brief review of the mission and vision of the “New Title V project, for the formation of clinical and translational researchers and scientific entrepreneurs during the pandemic”. His conference was followed by the presentation made by Dr. José Rodríguez-Orengo, Director of the Puerto Rico Public Health Trust, speaking on “The Perspectives from the Institute of Public Health throughout the Pandemic.” Reactions and commentaries and new perspectives were then presented by the intervention of three distinguished speakers, who each brought a specific approach. In Education: Dr. Marieli González-Cotto, in Biology: Dr. Marcos López-Casillas and in Statistics: Dr. Rafael Irizarry-Quintero. This session was attended by 50 members of the academic and general communities.

During the afternoon participants of the Title V projects presented their research and educational outcomes. Presentations included : Outcomes of the Interdisciplinary Course on Clinical and Translational Research, INTD5998, a course designed by  the project; by Mr. Orlando Serra- Marrero, Ms. Norcris Flores-Díaz , Mr. Alex Mora-Pagán and Mr. Carlos Acevedo-Soto;  the Financial Literacy and Scientific Entrepreneurship (FLSE) trainings, presented by Ms. María Vázquez-Machado, Mr. Marcos Roche-Medina, Dr. Soami Santiago de Snyder and Ms. Tania Avilés-Andino  and the outcomes of the Clinical and Translational Mentored Teams (CTMTs) presented by Ms. Carola González-Lebrón, Ms.Camiled Quirindongo-Rivera and Dr. Carlos Ríos-Velázquez.

This session concluded with three ten-minute oral presentations. The three ten-minute oral presentations were reserved for the members of Clinical and Translational Mentoring Teams (CTMTs) that obtained the highest three scores for their abstracts for posters accepted for presentation at the Scientific Day (next day), within the abstracts submitted from Title V’s CTMTs.

Presenters were as follows:

  • Mr. Eduardo Álvarez Rivera, Graduate Student, in the Ph.D. program  in Molecular and Cellular Biology, UCC: Coriolus versicolor’s PSP Restricts HIV-1 Entry by IFN Driven Cytoskeletal Protein Signatures
  • Dr. Luis Arroyo Rosario, Professor, School of Health Sciences, Universidad Ana G. Méndez:  A Pharmacogenomic Study of Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events (MACEs) in Caribbean Hispanic Patients on Clopidogrel by using Machine Learning Tools.
  • Ms. Sorangely Vázquez Alicea. A cyclic diterpenoid has a neuroprotective effect against Gulf War Illness involved neurotoxicants

Both the morning and afternoon sessions were well attended with more than 120 attendees.

Maria Del Mar Gonzalez Pons and a grap of Covid and mental health click link to hear videoThe activity had four main components:  the recognition of     the     progress     and     achievements     of    The Alliance’s supported investigators, the      presentation      of     interactive e – posters   by researchers, trainees, and students, three five-minute oral presentations of the best abstracts selected after peer review, and the plenary session in which four researchers presented their investigations related to COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, and


The morning started with a brief review of The Alliance’s mission and Vision and goals presented by Dr. Margarita Irizarry-Ramírez, PDC Core leader at the Alliance and moderator. This was followed by the presentations of the four researchers. They were selected out of a group of ten (10) researchers that received the University of Puerto Rico sponsored grants to work with COVID 19, and the selection was based on showcasing some of the diversity of approaches to deal with COVID-19 in Puerto Rico. The speakers were:

Dra. Maria Del Mar Gonzalez Pons


María del Mar González Pons, PhD

“Host-genetic Susceptibility to COVID-19 and Pandemic -Associated Stressors”




Foto Dra. Milagros I. Figueroa Ramos



Milagros I Figueroa Ramos, RN, PhD, FCCM
“Long Term Cognitive and Psychological Outcomes in Puerto Rican COVID-19 Survivors”.



foto Dr. Julio César Hernández



Julio C. Hernández Correa, MD, PhD
“Fighting COVID-19: Assessment of the Impact of Agricultural Extension Training on COVID-19 in the Meat Supply Chain in Puerto Rico”



Foto Dr. Carlos Sariol


Carlos A. Sariol Curbelo, MD
“Immunological Characterization of the Immune Response to COVID-19 in Puerto Rico”




Poster Presentations

After the plenary session, 38 virtual breakrooms were presented, in which on each one, a poster presenter could interactively engage with the visitors and explain the research. As it is customary in the Scientific Days, the presented posters were those that were selected after a peer review process.

Poster Number Presentation Title Presenter Name Email:
1 **Strategies to catalyze and support meaningful community academic partnerships to improve population health in Puerto Rico. Acosta Pérez, Edna
2 Does the ‘Night-float rotation’ alter sleep/wake cycles and circadian rhythms of UPR physician residents: Modulation by chronotypes Agosto-Rivera, Jose
3 Biomarkers found in the Plasma of Hispanic patients suffering from type 2 diabetes and early diagnosis of DKD using Enzyme-Link InmunoSorbent Assay. Álvarez Meléndez, Arnaldo E.
4 *Coriolus versicolor’s PSP Restricts HIV-1 Entry by IFN Driven Cytoskelal Protein Signatures Alvarez, Eduardo
5 A Case Report: An Atypical Innervation to the Gluteus Maximus by the Sciatic Nerve and its Clinical Implications Camacho-Quiñones, Amarilis
6 GluN3B expression at vHPC-IL after fear-related behavior Castillo-Ocampo, Yesenia
7 Factors Related to HIV Screening in Puerto Rico in Adult Population, 2018 Colón Bayona, Marlena I.
8 Development of macromolecule-based drug delivery system nanoparticles for lung cancer therapy Correa, Clarissa
9 Multidimensional Intelligences Model in LGB Latinx’s Coming Out: A Pre-Pilot Study Esteban, Caleb
10 Neuroprotective Properties of Phospholipase C Inhibitors, Novel Drug Candidates to Treat Epileptic Seizures Ferrer-Acosta, Yancy / Delgado-Reyes, Yamixa
12 Risk factors of women with endometrial cancer in Puerto Rico García-Irizarry, Kimberly D.
13 Ganoderma lucidum Compounds and the Effects on Inflammatory and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cell Viability García-Ortiz, Karla Marie
14 Rac expression among Puerto Rican breast cancer patients Gonzalez Ortiz, Mariangeline
15 Psychological Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Medical Students Studying in Puerto Rico Hermina-Pérez, Jose
16 PREPCOVI: Puerto Rico- Epidemiological evaluation and Prevention of COVID-19 and Influenza Joshipura, Kaumudi
17 **Reducing newborns early exposure to antibiotics in the neonatal intensive care unit. Lopez-Vallejo, Daniela
18 The COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Mental Health and Wellbeing of Healthcare workers in Puerto Rico Martínez-Lozano, Marijulie
19 Availability of treatment for opioid use disorder with buprenorphine following disasters in Puerto Rico Melin, Kyle
20 Multiple Criteria Optimization (MCO): a gene selection deterministic tool in RStudio Narvaez, Bandera Isis
21 Cyanosis and Increased Oral Secretions in a Newborn: Rare Case of E type Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula Negron Garcia, Lianela Cristina
22 Enhancing Personal Decision Making During and After a Hurricane to Preserve Wellness: Preliminary Results Nieves-Jiménez, Angelie
23 COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Implication in Puerto Rico’s Medical Students’ Academic and Clinical Performance Pabón, Nicole
24 Epidemiology of Inflammatory Breast Cancer in Puerto Rican Women Quirindongo-Rivera, Camiled
25 Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on endometriosis patients: symptoms, stress and access to care Ramos-Echevarría, Paola M
26 Shear Wave Elastography Detects Asymptomatic Changes of the Liver among Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 Patients Riestra-Candelaria, Bárbara
27 Confidence and Capability in Sexual History Note Taking Among Third- and Fourth- Year Medical Students from Medical Schools in Puerto Rico Rivera, Luis C.
28 Centrosome-associated mitotic kinases correlate with proliferation and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition markers in breast cancer tissue microarrays from Hispanic Latina patients Rivera-Rivera, Yainyrette
29 Mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pregnant and postpartum women Rodriguez, Marianela
30 *A Pharmacogenomic Study of Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events (MACEs) in Caribbean Hispanic Patients on Clopidogrel by using Machine Learning Tools. Rosario Arroyo, Luis
31 Development of a Mobile Software Application to Promote Education, Self-Care and Treatment Follow-Up among Puerto Rican Breast Cancer Patients Soto-Torres, Brenda
33 Association between vitamin D levels and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus Toledo Rosario, Leishla N.
34 Rb phosphorylation, CDK5 activators, p38, and the cadherin switch as potential biomarkers for prostate cancer metastasis. Valle Corte, Sheila M.
35 *A cyclic diterpenoid has a neuroprotective effect against  Gulf War Illness involved neurotoxicants Vázquez Alicea, Sorangely
36 Exploring factors needing attention to implement effective drug and mental health treatment in community correctional supervision: a study protocol Vega-Debién, Graciela D.
37 Cytokines expression pattern of tumor infiltrating microglia defines Pyk2 and FAK signaling activation in glioma cell Viera Ramírez, Fernando Antonio
38 The Difficulty of Family Centered Care During the Time of COVID-19 Weiner, Natalie


After the poster session, there were Five-minute oral presentations. These three five-minute presentations are reserved for the researchers that obtained the best three scores for the presented abstracts for posters. This year the presenters were:

  • Edna Acosta Pérez, PhD. Strategies to catalyze and support meaningful community partnerships to improve population health in Puerto Rico
  • Daniela López Vallejo. Reducing newborns early exposure to antibiotics in the neonatal Intensive care unit
  • Deiver Súárez. Joint analysis of autism and schizophrenia via Biooptimatics: preliminary results.


The final activity during the morning session was the recognition for productivity (funded grants and publications) selected among the researchers that acknowledge support from The Alliance. This year’s awardees for “The Alliance Investigator Achievement Award” were:

Fotos Dr. Vila, Dr. Duconge y Dra. Figueroa

This morning session was attended by 165 persons that were linked through the Zoom platform but also, another 190 persons that were following the proceedings using Vistazo a la Ciencia (A Glance @The Science, [vistazoala]) facebook website and platform, managed by Dr. Félix Rivera-Mariani from Larkin University, for a total of 355 attendees. In addition, we provided simultaneous English-Spanish translation. Thus, The Alliance ‘s efforts to reach out to the community were fulfilled with the use of these platforms and services.


Integrated concurrent workshops organized between Dr. Mariela Torres-Cintrón from The Alliance and Dr. Lizbelle Dejesús-Ojeda from Title V projects.

Both workshops were well attended with over 250 persons linked through the Zoom or the Vistazo a la Ciencia platform.From the Census Office in San Juan Puerto Rico, foto de Clara Santiago y Edgardo AlmodovarMs. Clara Santiago-Bello and Mr. Edgar Almodóvar-Cotto, allowed the participants to interact with the newly created page responsive to the need for quick information related to COVID-19, through which researchers may access socioeconomic and social determinants of health data that serve to answer research questions or to propose new research question addressing health Disparities.  El Dr. Joel Acevedo-Nieto



The other workshop was presented by Dr. Joel Acevedo-Nieto and dealt with how to design research to include the scientific entrepreneurship perspective.






Newsletter the 4th Novel Methodologies in Health Disparities Research Symposium