Laura Puentes, '15
Laura Puentes was born in Bogota, Colombia and raised in Mt. Dora, Florida. She has an Associate's degree from Valencia Community College. She is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology and a minor in Anthropology. Knowing first-hand the difficulties that come with learning a new language, she developed a community service program called "Bridges" in order to help Spanish speaking individuals with translation services. Laura is interested in conducting research in drug discovery and development. She plans to obtain her Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology and become a research scientist.
Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering; Biotechnology
Functional Reversal: Short-Term and Long-Term Variations in Vascular Endothelium-Derived Reactive Oxygen Species Conducted at Brown University part of Leadership Alliance summer research program. Mentor: Ruhul Abid M.D, Ph.D Brown University Abstract: Understanding the time-dependent functional reversal in reactive oxygen species (ROS) is essential in order to develop therapeutic modalities for cardiovascular disease. The aim of our project is to focus on the transient exposure of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in vascular endothelium versus chronic exposure, and to understand the vascular functional variations by ROS that are contingent on its temporal presence. Chronic oxidative stress leads to the deactivation of mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (SOD2) and a reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential. We hypothesize that the deactivation of SOD2 leads to increased mitochondrial ROS production resulting in mitochondrial damage and decreased coronary vasodilation. Our laboratory found that endothelium-dependent coronary vasodilation improved in mice that overexpressed NOX2, a component of the ROS generating NADPH oxidase complex, for a period of 4-12 weeks (short-term). It is well established that long-term (12-16 weeks) overexpression of NOX2 results in chronic oxidative stress, leading to the disruption of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis. We generated a double transgenic TET ON/OFF mouse model to modulate endogenous ROS levels via the overexpression of NOX2. Based on our results we were able to confirm that NO and SOD2 increase during short-term ROS production due to the activation of the AMPK-eNOS pathway. Our findings further revealed that heightened levels of ROS, which are often associated with endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular problems in advanced age, can play an acutely protective role in endothelial homeostasis by inducing eNOS activation and NO production during short-term increase. Future research in our laboratory will focus on measuring NO and mitochondrial ROS levels during long-term oxidative stress and analyze its effects on endothelial function.
Summer Research Institution
Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering
Puentes, Laura, "Laura Puentes, '15" (2017). McNair Scholars. 70.