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A major goal of my current research agenda is to conduct pharmacogenomic studies in order to advance the implementation of the new paradigm of precision medicine in the admixed Caribbean Hispanic population. Such translational studies pursue the interest of advance current healthcare standards in this population, and the population at large, as well as a reduction of disparities of health. I am a full-time faculty member (Professor; four-times Teacher of the Year award) at the University of Puerto Rico, School of Pharmacy (UPR-SoP), with an excellent record of productive research in clinical pharmacology, pharmacometrics (PK), pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenomics. I have a broad background in pharmacology and, over the last 10+ years, I have been well trained in the evolving field of pharmacogenomics and precision medicine. I am a former fellow of the advanced level residential program on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) in Madingley Hall, (Cambridge University, England, 1998). I have also been trained on Pharmacometrics (University of Auckland, New Zealand, 2003) and in Population Pharmacokinetics Data Analysis using NONMEM (SUNY, Buffalo, USA, 2006). I utilize WinNonlin, NONMEM, PKSim and other software extensively for PK/PD data analysis and modeling purposes. I dedicated a mini-sabbatical leave at the Genetics Research Center of Hartford Hospital, CT, and the Lab of Personalized Health to become familiar with the methodological, clinical and scientific aspects of medical genomics and genetic testing process and have been trained in genetic epidemiology, admixture and statistical analysis of the Latin American Populations (UCSF, Mission Bay Campus, 2010), and Next Generation Sequencing (University of Pittsburgh, 2013). I also completed the Education Program (PharmGenEdTM) Bridging the Gap between Science and Practice: Train-the-Trainer Program, at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD); the Pharmacogenomics Certificate Program for Pharmacists on Precision Medicine Conference, at the University of Florida (UF) College of Pharmacy and the Pharmacogenomics in Pharmacy Education: Workshop on Teaching Strategies in Pharmacogenomics for Pharmacists and Educators, UF College of Pharmacy (2016).
I am a member of the RTRN Translational Research Network-Cardiovascular Cluster Scientists; the International Warfarin Pharmacogenomic Consortium (IWPC)/ PharmGKB IWPC-GWAS Group; the Iberoamerican Network of Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics (RIBEF); the Clinical Pharmacogenomics Implementation Consortium (CPIC) working group and the Pharmacogenetics Variation Consortium (PharmVar) expert panel. I am also a founder member of the Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN) and hold active membership in different professional societies (e.g., ASCPT, AACP, etc.). I have served multiple times as a member of Special Emphasis Panels (SEP) and study sections to review applications for different programs and mechanisms at various I/A of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). I am a Regional Editor of Current Clinical Pharmacology and Editorial Board member of Pharmacogenomics journal, Journal of Pharmacogenomics & Pharmacoproteomics, Drug Metabolism and Personalized Medicine and the PR Health Sciences Journal.
I also have prior experience in successfully mentoring undergrad, graduate and postdoctoral fellows. This includes to serve as the mentor of graduate students in the Minority Biomedical Research Support-Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement, NIGMS-RISE program (Grant #R25 GM061838) and the post-doctoral MSc program in Clinical & Translational Research (Grant #R25 MD007607). I have served as the major advisor of 36 PharmD student projects.
As the PI of five previous NIH-funded grants, I laid the groundwork for pharmacogenomics research by performing measures of admixture, allele and genotype frequencies in Puerto Ricans, particularly with respect to polymorphisms in newborns and warfarin-treated patients; by developing new pharmacogenetic algorithms for dose predictions and by establishing strong ties with healthcare providers at different medical facilities. Currently, I have been working on the pharmacogenetics of other cardiovascular drugs in admixed Caribbean Hispanics in order to eliminate disparities of health care in this underserved, minority population that is often marginally represented in clinical studies. In doing so, me and co-workers have pioneered the development of novel PGt-based clinical decision support (CDS) tools and the implementation of genotype-driven treatment algorithms to guide dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) in Caribbean Hispanics. The inference of unique population genetic structures using ancestry informative markers of physiogenomic interest, to control for population stratification, is also part of my prior work in the evolving field of pharmacogenomics and the pursuit of a DNA-guided precision medicine paradigm. In addition, I have successfully collaborated with other investigators, led several pharmacokinetics, pharmacometrics and pharmacogenomic studies, developed networking and produced more than 85 peer-reviewed publications from these collaborative studies.
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