University of Puerto Rico,
Medical Sciences Campus,
School of Medicine,
Biochemistry Department
Ph.D. Candidate
and MBRS- RISE Student


Research Interest:My research involves airborne particulate matter (PM) and its effects at the biochemical level as it relates to environmental human health. A most noticeable natural phenomenon of annual occurrence in Puerto Rico and in the Caribbean is the influence of events introducing additional PM carried by African dust storms originating in that continent. Estimates as much as 3 billion metric tons of dust are transported across the Atlantic annually by this process. There is a general belief among our population that the exacerbation of asthma and other diseases are associated with African dust events (commonly referred to as Saharan Dust) however, we lack scientific evidence to support this hypothesis. Previous studies performed by our laboratory have reported that African dust inputs are very rich in iron (Fe), (Al) and other elements that can generate Reactive Oxygen Species. Currently we are evaluating the pro-inflammatory responsive capacity of PM constituents from African dust reaching Puerto Rico. It is generally accepted by the scientific community that the pro-inflammatory effects of PM are associated with oxidative stress caused by the effect of metals. The content of redox cycling chemicals in PM and its ability to generate oxidative stress in the lung in association with individual genetic variables are of utmost importance in the development of respiratory illness and most likely cardiovascular diseases.

Oral Presentations:

1- Pro-inflammatory Characteristics of PM 2.5 Organic Extracts from African Dust Events. RISE-MBRS Program, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico. October 15, 2010.

2- Partial Characterization of Ambient PM 2.5 Extract from Saharan Dust Events. Platform presentation, Society of Toxicology, Meeting at Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, March, 2010.

Selected Publications:

1- Rodriguez, Rosa Ortiz-Martínez, Mario, Fuentes-Mattei Enrique, Rivera-Ramírez Evasomary and Jiménez Vélez, Braulio. 2010. Airborne Particulate Matter: its immune response using human lung epithelial cells. Acta Toxicológica Argentina, Vol. 18, P: 3.

2- Jiménez-Vélez, M. Ortiz-Martínez, R. Rodríguez-Cotto, E. Rivera-Ramírez, L. Méndez-Torres. 2010.Toxicological and Pro-inflammatory characteristics of Saharan Dust constituents reaching Puerto Rico. Abstracts/Toxicology Letters 196S, S37-S351.

3- Rosa I. Rodríguez, Loyda Méndez-Torres, and Braulio D. Jiménez-Vélez. 2010. Partial Characterization of Ambient PM 2.5 Extract from Saharan Dust Events. The Toxicologist. Vol. 114, P: 312.

4- Fuentes-Mattei, Enrique, Rodriguez-Cotto, Rosa and Jiménez-Vélez, Braulio D. 2010.Transcriptional Regulation of Histocompatibility Complex Class II (MHC-II) Gene by Pregnane X Receptor (PXR) Activators and the Possible Role of PXR in the IFNT-Mediated Transcriptional Up-Regulation of MHC-II Gene. The Toxicologist. Vol. 114, P: 331.

5- Rosa I. Rodríguez, Loyda Méndez-Torres, and Braulio D. Jiménez-Vélez. 2010. Studying Ambient PM2.5 Extracts from Saharan Dust Collected in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal, Vol. 29 (2), P: 153
Poster presented in the XXX Annual Forum of Research and Education, Public Health in the Knowledge Society: Challenges and Options. University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, March 19, 2010. AWARDED Third Place in PhD category.