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Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology
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Department of Biochemistry
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer afflicting Puerto Rican women and accounts for more cancer-related deaths in this population than any other cancer. Demographic, anthropometric, family history, and lifestyle data, as well as DNA repair capacity (DRC), were compared in 465 BC cases and 661 controls. Crude and multiple logistic regression-derived adjusted odds ratios were used as indicators of the associations between BC and the variables under study. A low DRC level, aging (>61years), family history of BC, and low education level had statistically significant associations with increased BC risk. Endometriosis, full-term pregnancy at an earlier age, higher parity, hysterectomy before age 50, multivitamin and calcium intake, and longer duration of breastfeeding significantly decreased BC risk. This study discusses the major risk factors for BC in Puerto Rico (PR). Because many of these findings represent modifiable risk factors, they can translate into public health initiatives to lower BC risk. In addition, the possibility of using DRC as a simple screening tool for BC risk is explored.
    Journal of epidemiology and global health. 12/2013; 3(4):205-15.
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    ABSTRACT: Viral protein R (Vpr) is an accessory protein of HIV and SIV involved in the pathogenesis of viral infection. In this study, we monitored SIV evolution in the central nervous system and other organs from morphine-dependent and control animals by sequencing vpr in an attempt to understand the relationship between drug abuse, disease progression, and compartmentalization of viral evolution. Animals in the morphine group developed accelerated disease and died within twenty weeks post-infection. A unique mutation, R50G, was identified in the macaques that survived regardless of morphine exposure. Functional studies revealed that the R50G mutation exhibited altered cellular localization and decreased the expression levels of both IL-6 and IL-8. Our results, therefore, suggest that sequence changes within the SIV/17E-Fr vpr occur regardless of drug abuse but correlate with survival, and that they alter disease progression rates by affecting Vpr functions.
    Virology 11/2013; 446(1-2):144-51.
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    ABSTRACT: Among the modes of transmission available to the cytomegalovirus (CMV) is sexual transmission, primarily via semen. Both male-to-female (M-F) and male-to-male (M-M) sexual transmission significantly contribute towards the spread of CMV infections in the global population. Semen plays an important role in carrying the viral particle that invades the vaginal or rectal mucosa, thereby initiating viral replication. Both semen and seminal plasma (SP) can enhance HIV-1 infection in cell culture, and two amyloid fibrils, semen-derived enhancer of viral infection (SEVI) and amyloids derived from the semenogelins (SEMs), have been identified as seminal factors sufficient to enhance HIV-1 infection (Munch et al., Cell, 2007; Roan et al., Cell Host & Microbe, 2011; Arnold et al., JV 2012). Whether SP, SEVI, or SEM amyloids can enhance other viral infections has not been extensively examined. In this study, we found that SP, SEVI, and SEM amyloids strongly enhance both human CMV (HCMV) and murine CMV (MCMV) infection in cell culture. SEVI and SEM amyloids increased infection rates by more than 10-fold, as determined by both flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. Viral replication was increased by 50- to 100-fold. Moreover, viral growth curve assays showed that SP, SEVI, and SEM amyloids sped up the kinetics of CMV replication such that the virus reached its replicative peak more quickly. Finally, we discovered that SEM amyloids and SEVI counteracted the effect of anti-gH in protecting against CMV infection. Collectively, the data suggest that semen enhances CMV infection through interactions between semen amyloid fibrils and viral particles, and these interactions may prevent HCMV from being neutralized by anti-gH antibody.
    Journal of Virology 09/2013;


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    Ponce, Puerto Rico
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Top publications last week by downloads

Indian journal of experimental biology 07/2010; 48(7):642-50.
Emergency medicine clinics of North America 11/2010; 28(4):951-67.

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