PhD Candidate – Started 2014

Hometown: Carolina, Puerto Rico

Advisor/Lab: Nader Sheibani

Research Interests: Diabetic Retinopathy, Retinopathy of Prematurity, Animal Models, Retinal Vascular Cell Biology and Signal Transduction.


Bachelors of Science, Universidad del Este, Puerto Rico: 2007-2012


Movies, reading, walking, animals (dogs), having fun with friends and family.

Why I Joined METC

My first time in Madison was during Biosciences Opportunities Preview Program (BOPs). I liked the atmosphere of serenity here. However, what really surprise me was the flexibility and collaboration within the campus, sharing equipment and expertise across labs and departments. The atmosphere among faculty and students alike was also friendly and supportive. I particular chose METC because it has a wide array of researchers in multitude of fields. The collaborative atmosphere and high-level research and discoveries are the perfect environment for any emerging scientific investigator.

Current Research

Recent studies have linked altered expression of Cyp1b1 to development and progression of astrocyte/glial tumors. However, very little is known about the cell autonomous activity of Cyp1b1 in astrocytes and its dysfunction in neurovascular defects associated with diabetes and other neurological disorders associated with exposure to various environmental pollutants and toxicants.Our laboratory recently showed that Cyp1b1 is expressed in vascular cells and plays a significant role during postnatal development of retinal vasculature and retinal neovascularization during oxygen-induced ischemic retinopathy (OIR). Although, we have demonstrated the cell autonomous impact of Cyp1b1 deficiency on retinal endothelial cells (EC) and perivascular supporting cells, we know little about the physiological role of Cyp1b1 expression in astrocytes. Astrocytes are the most abundant cells in the central nervous system. Their functions range from secretion or absorption of neural transmitters to maintenance of the blood-brain or blood-retina barrier. Astrocyte dysfunction could contribute to various pathologies including diabetic retinopathy and various neurological disorders. Our interest in retinal astrocytes comes from its critical role during normal inner retinal vascularization and degeneration of retinal astrocytes in ischemic tissues with damage to the blood retinal barrier in retinopathy of prematurity. In fact, astrocytes are the major source of the matricellular proteins thrombospondins-1 and-2 (TSP1 and TSP2) that have significant roles in neuronal synaptogenesis, as well as regulation of angiogenesis. I’m interested in expanding our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms acting through Cyp1b1 and its contribution to neurovascular development, and angiogenesis and neuronal function.


2014 Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (AOF) / Science & Medicine Graduate
Research Scholars (SciMed GRS)