Cellular and Molecular Biology
Six major areas of research fall under cell and molecular biology. These are 1) the importance of antioxidants in the prevention of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. 2) The identification and utilization of compounds produced by corals for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. 3) The mechanisms by which cocaine induces addiction. 4) The effects of thyroidal hormones on the nervous system. 5) The effects of the gravity on signal transduction and 6) the targeting of medications to specific tissues according to the receptors they express.
Research is focused in neurological protection mechanisms after stroke and other ischemic events. The researchers are also interested in the use of tobacco products as therapeutical agents and the prevention of nicotine addiction. Basic projects on the mechanisms involved in Huntington disease, epilepsy and drug addiction are also been conducted.
UCC has excelled in the study of the medical consequences of substance abuse. Researchers are currently involved in the research of 1) the prevalence and risk behavior for the transmission of Hepatisits C virus among intravenous drug users. 2) A comparison of the incidence of HIV and risk behaviors between intravenous drug users in New York City and Puerto Rico. 3) The effects of drug abuse on the immune system of intravenous drug users. 4) The prevalence of suicide attempts and alcohol use in intravenous drug users. 5) Community outreach projects as a tool to provide access to health services for marginalized populations. 6) The effectiveness of different intervention models in the reduction of risk behaviors in intravenous drug users.
UCC researcher are study the history and impact of HIV in Puerto Rico. The research projects integrate clinical, immunological, virological, and psychological aspects of the impact of the epidemic in the Island and its relations with other infections and factors as hepatitis C and cancer. Current projects include 1) sociodemografic and risk behavior changes in patients with HIV/AIDS. 2) Psychological and clinical profile of drug users with and with out treatment against HIV/AIDS. 3) Mortality and Morbidity for HIV and HCV co-infected patients. 4) The identification of factors that inhibit the reproduction of the virus through the use of proteomics. 5) The increase in non-functional immune cells in relation with disease progression in HIV/AIDS.