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My name is Coriness Piñeyro Ruiz and I am a doctoral student from the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology in the Medical Science Campus, University of Puerto Rico. I completed a Master’s degree in Anatomy in May 2015. In my master’s research project I evaluated the role of metabotropic glutamate receptors in female anxiety, specifically generalized and panic/phobic anxiety, injecting female rats with an agonist of these receptors. I also evaluated protein expression levels of these receptors in anxiety modulated regions, such as the amydala nuclei.
Currently as I mentioned above, I am pursuing my doctoral degree. For my doctoral training I choose to work in clinical science. I am working with hypospadias, the most common urogenital congenital malformation. Between the years of 2007-2010, the prevalence of hypospadias in Puerto Rico was 30.2/10,000 male live births. Unfortunately, the etiology of hypospadias is still unknown. Thus, for my doctoral project I am performing proteomic and metabolomics analysis in tissue samples from hypospadic boys according to severity. Also, I am evaluating endocrine disruptors from the blood of hypospadiac boys. The long-term goal is to find associations between the proteome, endocrine disruptors, and geographical space for the condition.
Yearly, throughout my training I work with medical students as a teaching assistant and given conferences. I love the feedback I receive from the students and it is very gratifying to know you are contributing to the formation of future doctors. I have also trained undergraduate students and have also loved this part of my training because I have had very good feedback. Once a student told me that they are going to pursue a biomedical career because I changed the way they thought about research. To have this response in the early stages of my career, keeps me encouraged for the future to come. In addition, a vital part in my training has been to participate in extracurricular activities.
After my PhD, my goal is to find a post-doctorate position in the USA, where I can further develop as a professional scientist. After my post-doc I want to return to the island and work in the UPR system as a professor and a scientist.
I am currently working in my doctorate thesis’ project where I work with hypospadias, the most common urogenital congenital malformation in Puerto Rico. The etiology of this condition is currently unknown, and research studies have focused in studying the condition in a more restrictive approach and hasn’t assessed the condition in its three types of severity. Thus, the goal of my project is to conduct a series of large-scale approach performing biomolecular studies to generate proteomic and metabolomics profiles of hypospadias according to severity; and assess whether differences are observed in the quantity of proteins and metabolites between severity of hypospadias; as well as to asses plasma levels of heavy metals according to hypospadias severity. The central hypotheses of my studies are: (1) male children born with hypospadias will show a differential proteomic and metabolic profile according to severity; and (2) will have elevated plasma concentrations of heavy metals when compared to control children. The rationale of this project is that proteomic and metabolomics profiles according to severity of hypospadias are needed to better understand this congenital condition; as well as to assess if genetic susceptibility for hypospadias is triggered by environmental exposure to endocrine disruptors. My expected outcome is to provide a large-scale analysis of proteins and metabolic changes according to severity of hypospadias; and evidence to further support “the two-hit hypothesis” which affirms that genetic susceptibility for hypospadias is triggered by exposure to environmental contaminants. The positive impact of our project will be to provide the medical community and public policy with scientific data that may reduce the prevalence of hypospadias in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
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