LSAMP Alumni Profile

Valeria A. Gerena González
iCURE scholar Fellow, National Institute of Health (NIH)
Puerto Rico LSAMP

Past Clubs/Organizations
An active member of TriBeta, Zeta Gamma Chapter. A member of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus (UPRRP) Honors Program. Active member of National Alliance of Mental Ileness (NAMI) UPRRP chapter

Past Research
During my undergraduate studies, I worked in Dr. Carlos Torres-Ramos's lab at the University of Puerto Rico-Medical Science Campus where I studied the reactive oxygen species (ROS) production due to oxidative stress. The ROS damages the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) but, the base excision repair (BER) repairs ROS-induced lesions. Hence, my project involved understanding how mtDNA repair contributes to mitochondrial function and also in the prevention of excessive ROS production, with Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains harboring mutations in DNA repair genes APN1 and APN1; therefore to determine the effect of these mutations in ROS production. The collaboration on this project has resulted in my Honors Program's Thesis titled: Role of the DNA Repair Genes, APN1, and APN2, in the Prevention of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In addition to my work in Dr. Torres-Ramos’s Lab, I also sought out summer research opportunities at Princeton University. I worked at Dr. Thomas J. Silhavy's lab where I worked under his guidance and Dr. Randy L. Guest. During my time at Princeton University, I was able to initiate the investigation of antibiotic resistance in E. coli due to a membrane complex in the maintenance of lipid asymmetry (MLA) pathway. My work consisted of understanding the complex that forms in the MLA pathway on the outer membrane proteins F and C (OmpF/C). Currently, I am working at NIH, at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), under Dr. DeeDee Smart's lab studying breast and brain cancer.

Valeria A. Gerena González

-I have diverse things that I am passionate about, but one that stands the most is my dispossition to help others in any way. -Find opportunities that will help you grow and open you unimaginable doors, more so, by doing what you love.

I am available to mentor in the following ways
Alumni Recruitment, Attend Conferences, Mentor Students

My areas of expertise include
Public Speaking, Leadership Skills, Research Posters, Research Presentation, Resume/CV, 1:1 Mentoring