Neurobiologist & Influencer

As a doctoral student in neuroscience, I strive to be a leading researcher in sensory-motor integration and run an internationally recognized research program. In this capacity, I aim to positively impact the education and research as a tenured faculty member and for my trainees. My interest in sensory motor responses began as an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico. Under the mentorship of Dr. Manuel Díaz-Ríos, I began my graduate studies using the isolated SC preparation to elucidate a previously unrecognized central pattern generator (CPG). By isolating thoracic segments of the SC, I discovered an autonomous rhythm, which I pharmacologically manipulated to dissect the excitatory and inhibitory components of the circuit dynamics. This work supported my successful application to the Neural Systems & Behavior summer course at Marine Biological Laboratories (MBL, Summer 2017).

During this course, I developed a project with Dr. Daniel Colón-Ramos from Yale University studying how C. elegans performed thermotaxis using calcium imaging in freely moving animals. I was awarded a Post-Course Research Award to continue these experiments at Yale with Dr. Colón-Ramos. While pursuing these research endeavors, Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico damaging my home and local research facilities. My mentors, Drs. Díaz-Rios and Colón-Rámos, suggested I continue my studies at Yale and turn my current research project into my thesis project. I welcomed this opportunity to study in a thriving research environment and develop my skill set. Currently, I'm designing a novel approach that enables characterization of calcium activity, with single neuron resolution, in freely Moving C. elegans navigating a thermal gradient. More recently I have been awarded the F-31 NRSA from the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Neuroloigical Disorders and Stroke (NIH NINDS).