Organizers

 

 

 

 

Michelle Martínez, Ph.D.
Dr. Martínez-Montemayor is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Cancer research at Universidad Central del Caribe-School of Medicine. Her research program studies etiology and progression of disease at the molecular level, and on development of therapeutics using natural products. Her studies focus on translational regulation in cancer, modulation of inflammatory processes upon natural product treatment, synergism of natural compounds and conventional therapeutics, and the effects of natural therapies on cancer stem cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, she works in a collaborative project on the creation of a cancer patient advocacy group, and on another project where through an ethnopharmacology approach they screen and test commonly used but less studied herbal remedies, their biological activities and possible bioactive compounds of native Puerto Rican plants. She is also an Amercian Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) Linkage Fellow. The NIH-NIGMS, ASCB, the Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation and the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, currently funds her research and projects. She is an example of an active researcher committed to engaging students (high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical) into learning the multiple aspects of biomedical research from theory to practice.


Guillermo Armaiz-Pena, Ph.D.
Dr. Armaiz-Pena is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Basic Sciences, Division of Pharmacology at Ponce Health Sciences University and the Division of Cancer Biology at Ponce Research Institute. His research program focuses on understanding how mind/body interactions result in women’s cancer progression and developing breast and ovarian cancer models from hispanic/latino patients. His research is currently funded by the NIH, NCI, American Cancer Society and the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust. He has published more than 45 manuscripts, two book chapters and holds two patents in the field of cancer and novel therapeutics. Proud Puerto Rican scientist.


Mara Domenech, Ph.D.
Dr. Domenech was born in Mayaguez, PR and is currently an associate professor of the Chemical Engineering Department at University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus. She received a BS in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She returned to University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez to conduct her post-doctoral research focused on the mechanisms of actions of magnetic nanoparticles to target triple negative breast cancer cells. In 2012, she became an assistant professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. She has received several awards for her accomplishments and commitment to research and undergraduate STEM education including: the Alumni Role Model Award by the Industrial Biotechnology Program at UPRM (2014, 2015 and 2016), Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (NIH-NCI 2014), Minority-serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Award presented by the American Association Cancer Research (2015), and Basic Research Early Investigator1st place award (2016) by NCI CRCHD. Her overall research goals include the development of novel multi-cellular in vitro models that mimic the tissue microenvironment to evaluate tumor progression and therapeutic resistance.


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Ivette J.  Suárez Arroyo, Ph.D.
Dr. Suárez completed a B.S. in Industrial Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. In 2016, she obtained a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Universidad Central del Caribe-School of Medicine (UCC-SOM). At present, she is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Biochemistry in the Cancer Research Unit at UCC-SOM. She is also part-time faculty at the College of Science and Health Professions at Universidad Central de Bayamón. Her research focuses in to elucidate the role of the endocytosis related protein, SCAMP3, in EGFR trafficking and Inflammatory Breast Cancer progression. Dr. Suárez has several publications in the breast cancer field in high impact journals. Dr. Suárez is committed to help others and to advance the understanding of the biology of cancer in an effort to find a cure for this intractable disease.