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Vanessa Rivera-Amill

Vanessa Rivera-Amill
Ponce Health Sciences University/ Ponce Research Institute · Basic Sciences, School of Medicine

PhD

About

59
Publications
6,798
Reads
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1,396
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Introduction
My research interests are focused on how chronic inflammation leads to the development of depression and its effects in HIV antiretroviral therapy adherence and immune system functions. I am also interested in understanding the risks, development, and progression of malignancies observed in individuals with an underlying HIV/AIDS. Specifically examining unique features of HIV-associated inflammation and how it may contribute to microbiome dysbiosis and the development of metabolic syndrome.
Additional affiliations
July 2005 - present
Ponce Health Sciences University/ Ponce Research Institute
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (59)
Article
Mosquito-borne arboviruses are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the Caribbean. In Puerto Rico, chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses have each caused large outbreaks during 2010–2022. To date, the majority of control measures to prevent these diseases focus on mosquito control and many require community participation. In 2018, the U...
Article
As of January 20, 2022, > 247,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,400 deaths were reported in Puerto Rico (PR). We interviewed participants aged ≥ 14 years in the Communities Organized to Prevent Arboviruses (COPA) study, a community-based cohort in PR, about COVID-19 vaccine intention from November 12, 2020, to June 25, 2021. We used univariate and...
Article
Full-text available
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) caused a large outbreak in Puerto Rico in 2014, followed by a Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in 2016. Communities Organized for the Prevention of Arboviruses (COPA) is a cohort study in southern Puerto Rico, initiated in 2018 to measure arboviral disease risk and provide a platform to evaluate interventions. To identify risk f...
Poster
Full-text available
This poster presents preliminary results of using a portable MiniPCR bio thermocycler, as a field method, to molecularly determine the sex of monomorphic wild native and migratory Caribbean birds.
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic revealed a worldwide lack of effective molecular surveillance networks at local, state, and national levels, which are essential to identify, monitor, and limit viral community spread. SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) such as Alpha and Omicron, which show...
Article
Objective To describe anthropometric, sensory, and neurodevelopmental outcomes of Zika virus exposed children from birth to 36 months. Study design The cohort includes 114 children born to mothers with confirmed and probable ZIKV pregnancy infection, from 2016-2017. Children attending study visits from May 2017 through February 2020 underwent phys...
Preprint
Mosquito-borne arboviruses are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the Caribbean. In Puerto Rico, chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses have each caused large outbreaks during 2010–2022. To date, the majority of control measures to prevent these diseases focus on mosquito control and many require community participation. In 2018, the U...
Article
Introduction: Impacts of COVID-19 mitigation measures on seasonal respiratory viruses is unknown in sub-tropical climates. Methods: We compared weekly testing and test-positivity of respiratory infections in the 2019-2020 respiratory season to the 2012-2018 seasons in southern Puerto Rico using Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Results: Compared to...
Article
The diagnosis of dengue disease, caused by the dengue virus (DENV) (a flavivirus), often requires serologic testing during acute and early convalescent phases of the disease. Some symptoms of DENV infection, such as nonspecific fever, are similar to those caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In studies with few COVID...
Preprint
Full-text available
Puerto Rico has experienced the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was first detected on the island in March of 2020, it spread rapidly though the island’s population and became a critical threat to public health. We conducted a genomic surveillance study through a partnership with health agencie...
Article
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Serological cross-reactivity has proved to be a challenge to diagnose Zika virus (ZIKV) infections in dengue virus (DENV) endemic countries. Confirmatory testing of ZIKV IgM positive results by plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNTs) provides clarification in only a minority of cases because most individuals infected with ZIKV were previously...
Article
Full-text available
Arboviral diseases transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes pose an increasing public health challenge in tropical regions. Wolbachia- mediated population suppression ( Wolbachia suppression) is a vector control method used to reduce Aedes mosquito populations by introducing male mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia , a naturally occurring endosymbiot...
Article
HIV-1 genetic diversity and resistance profile might change according to the risky sexual behavior of the host. To show this, we recruited 134 individuals between the years 2015 to 2017 identified as Transgender Women Sex Workers (TWSW, n = 73) and Heterosexual Military Officers (HET-MO, n = 61). After obtaining informed consent, we collected a blo...
Article
Full-text available
The HIV-1 integrase viral protein is responsible for incorporating the viral DNA into the genomic DNA. The inhibition of viral integration into host cell DNA is part of recent therapeutic procedures. Combination therapy with protease and reverse transcriptase inhibitors has demonstrated good synergistic results in reducing viral replication. The pu...
Article
Full-text available
Many applications have been developed for electronic data collection. However, offline field navigation tools incorporating secure electronic data capture and field visit tracking are currently scarce. We created an R-Shiny application, HTrack (Household Tracking), for use on encrypted Android devices in the field. The application was implemented i...
Article
Full-text available
Background After Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged in the Americas, laboratory-based surveillance for arboviral diseases in Puerto Rico was adapted to include ZIKV disease. Methods and findings Suspected cases of arboviral disease reported to Puerto Rico Department of Health were tested for evidence of infection with Zika, dengue, and chikungunya viruses...
Article
Full-text available
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is increasingly used for HIV-1 drug resistance genotyping. NGS methods have the potential for a more sensitive detection of low-abundance variants (LAV) compared to standard Sanger sequencing (SS) methods. A standardized threshold for reporting LAV that generates data comparable to those derived from SS is needed to...
Article
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Alcohol-related disorders (ARD) are highly prevalent among Latin American-Caribbean countries. Mental disorders are common comorbidities in individuals with ARD. However, the etiology of the association between ARD and mental disorders remains unclear. We examined the association of inflammatory cytokines, microbiome, and other biomakers with measu...
Article
Full-text available
Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral, acute febrile illness (AFI) is associated with polyarthralgia and polyarthritis. Differentiation from other AFI is difficult due to the non-specific presentation and limited availability of diagnostics. This 3-year study identified independent clinical predictors by day post-illness onset (DPO) at presentation a...
Poster
Full-text available
Validating the procedure of molecular sex identification by characterizing the gene of chromium helicase DNA binding (CHDW/CHDZ) by using 2250F/2718R and P2/P8 primer sets, for eventually determine sex in monomorphic birds in birds of Puerto Rico. *Preliminary data indicates that the PCR method using the primer sets 2550/2716 and P2/P8 needs to be...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthropod-borne Alphavirus transmitted to humans, primarily via Aedes mosquitoes. In Puerto Rico, the first locally transmitted infections were reported in May 2014. Although the virus strain in Puerto Rico is related to the Asian/American lineage, many autochthonous cases have emerged recently in the...
Article
Full-text available
Tobacco use has been implicated as an immunomodulator in the oral cavity and contributes to the development of oral cancer. In the present study, we investigated the effects of cigarette smoking on bacterial diversity and host responses compared to healthy nonsmoking controls. Saliva samples were collected from eighteen smokers and sixteen nonsmoki...
Article
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The implementation of antiretroviral treatment combined with the monitoring of drug resistance mutations improves the quality of life of HIV-1 positive patients. The drug resistance mutation patterns and viral genotypes are currently analyzed by DNA sequencing of the virus in the plasma of patients. However, the virus compartmentalizes, and differe...
Article
Full-text available
Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) subtype B virus is the most prevalent subtype in Puerto Rico (PR), accounting for about 90% of infection in the island. Recently, other subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRF) including F (12_BF), A (01_BF), and CRF-39 BF-like have been identified. The purpose of this study is to assess the distributi...
Article
Full-text available
HIV-1 epidemics in Caribbean countries, including Puerto Rico, have been reported to be almost exclusively associated with the subtype B virus (HIV-1B). However, while HIV infections associated with other clades have been only sporadically reported, no organized data exist to accurately assess the prevalence of non-subtype B HIV-1 infection. We ana...
Article
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Objective: HIV-1 variants with different tropisms are associated with various neuropathologies. This study intends to determine if this correlation is determined by unique viral env sequences. We hypothesize that HIV-1 envelope gene sequence changes are associated with cognition status. Methods: Viral RNA was extracted from peripheral blood mono...
Article
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In the era of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) account for 40 to 56% of all HIV(+) cases. During the acute stage of HIV-1 infection (<6 months), the virus invades and replicates within the central nervous system (CNS). Compared to peripheral tissues, the local CNS cell population expresses disti...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Combined antiretroviral treatment (cART) has changed the clinical presentation of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) to that of the milder forms of the disease. Asymptomatic neurocognitive impairment (ANI) is now more prevalent and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality risk in HIV-1-infected people. HIV-1 enve...
Article
Full-text available
The Caribbean region has the world second highest incidence rate of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The island of Hispaniola is composed of 2 sovereign nations: the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Together, they account for more than 85% of HIV/AIDS cases in the Caribbean; and the Dominican Republic alone has approximately 46,000 (33,000-59,000)...
Article
Full-text available
Depression is the most common psychiatric diagnosis in the HIV/AIDS population and represents a risk factor for disease progression. Since HIV-1 infection is characterized by immunologic and metabolic disturbances, we want to study the effects of depression on different components related to pro-inflammatory and oxidative stress markers. We hypothe...
Article
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Background: Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), most commonly Crohn's disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC), suffer from chronic intestinal inflammation of unknown etiology. Increased proinflammatory macrophages (M1) have been documented in tissue from patients with CD. Anti-inflammatory macrophages (M2) may play a role in UC given t...
Article
Full-text available
HIV-1 infection can lead to neurocognitive impairment collectively known as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Although combined antiretroviral treatment (cART) has significantly ameliorated HIV's morbidity and mortality, persistent neuroinflammation and neurocognitive dysfunction continue. This review focuses on the current clinical a...
Article
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Neurocognitive impairments remain prevalent in HIV-1 infected individuals despite current antiretroviral therapies. It is increasingly becoming evident that astrocytes play a critical role in HIV-1 neuropathogenesis through the production of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines. HIV-1 viral protein R (Vpr) plays an important role in neuronal dysfun...
Article
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...
Article
Despite the widespread use of antiretroviral therapy that effectively limits viral replication, memory impairment remains a dilemma for HIV infected people. In the CNS, HIV infection of astrocytes leads to the production of the HIV-1 Nef protein without viral replication. Post mortem studies have found Nef expression in hippocampal astrocytes of pe...
Article
Full-text available
In addition to its role in virus entry, HIV-1 gp120 has also been implicated in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. However, the mechanism(s) responsible for gp120-mediated neuroinflammation remain undefined. In view of increased levels of IL-6 in HIV-positive individuals with neurological manifestations, we sought to address whether gp120 is...
Article
Full-text available
Our previous studies have shown two distinct disease patterns (rapid and normal onset of clinical symptoms) in morphine-dependent SHIV/SIV-inoculated rhesus macaques. We have also shown that control as well as 50% of morphine-dependent macaques (normal progressor) developed humoral and cellular immune responses whereas the other half of the morphin...
Article
Full-text available
Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) have been shown to compartmentalize within various tissues, including the brain. However, the evolution of viral quasispecies in the setting of drug abuse has not been characterized. The goal of this study was to examine viral evolution in the cerebral compartment of mor...
Article
Full-text available
HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) have a formidable capacity for mutation and adaptation, a characteristic that has contributed to the extensive genetic variability. Evolutionary pressures imposed within the host and the viral capacity to mutate lead to the generation of such variants. To date, very little information is available regardi...
Article
Full-text available
Six morphine-dependent and three control macaques were infected with a mixture of SIV/SHIV. Half of the animals in the morphine group developed accelerated disease (rapid progressor) and died within 20 weeks postinfection. The evolution of the envelope gene in the brain of the rapid progressor and morphine-dependent group along with that in the con...
Article
Full-text available
Both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and illicit drug addiction remain major health problems not only in the United States but all over globe. The effect of drug addiction on HIV/AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) has been somewhat underexplored. However, in United States more than one fourth of HIV-positive individuals are injection drug...
Article
A homeostatic balance exists between the cellular generation of oxidant species and endogenous antioxidants under normal physiological conditions. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection is known to affect this balance causing oxidative stress. However, the interaction of HIV infection with a substance abuse on cellular oxidant/antioxidant sys...
Article
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Oxidative stress is well documented in HIV infection, but the effect of concomitant substance abuse is largely unknown. We studied oxidative stress in our macaque model of morphine abuse and AIDS. In plasma, we found an approximately 50% decrease in catalase activity with morphine dependence that was exacerbated by infection in rapid progressors. S...
Article
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We analyzed the association between the evolution of the V3-V5 regions of env and disease progression in our SIV/SHIV macaque model of morphine dependence and AIDS. Previous studies revealed two distinct disease patterns--fast progression and normal progression. To determine the effect of the two distinct patterns of disease in the evolution of SIV...
Article
Full-text available
Campylobacter jejuni, a gram-negative motile bacterium, secretes a set of proteins termed the Campylobacter invasion antigens (Cia proteins). The purpose of this study was to determine whether the flagellar apparatus serves as the export apparatus for the Cia proteins. Mutations were generated in five genes encoding three structural components of t...
Article
Campylobacter jejuni, a gram-negative spiral shaped bacterium, is a frequent cause of gastrointestinal food-borne illness in humans throughout the world. Illness with C. jejuni ranges from mild to severe diarrheal disease. This article focuses on Campylobacter virulence determinants and their potential role in the development of C. jejuni-mediated...
Article
Full-text available
Campylobacter jejuni are a common cause of human diarrheal illness. Previous work has demonstrated that C. jejuni synthesize a novel set of proteins upon coculturing with epithelial cells, some of which are secreted. The secreted proteins have been collectively referred to as Campylobacter invasion antigens (Cia proteins). Metabolic labeling experi...
Article
Presented here is the first evidence that Campylobacter jejuni secrete proteins upon co-cultivation with host cells and in INT 407 cell-conditioned medium. A C. jejuni gene designated ciaB for Campylobacter invasion antigen B was identified, using a differential screening technique, which is required for this secretion process and the efficient ent...
Article
Clinical and in vitro experimental data suggest that invasion of intestinal epithelial cells is an essential step in the pathogenesis of Campylobacter jejuni-mediated enteritis. However, the molecular mechanism of C. jejuni internalization remains poorly defined. The goal of this study was to identify a gene that encodes a protein required for the...
Article
Campylobacter jejuni is a common cause of human gastrointestinal disease worldwide. Despite the prevalence of C. jejuni infections, the mechanisms of C. jejuni pathogenesis remain ill-defined. Invasion of the cells lining the intestinal tract is hypothesized to be essential for the development of C. jejuni-mediated enteritis. Recent studies in our...

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