Kenneth S. Ramos, MD, PhD, PharmB, is associate vice president for precision health sciences at the University of Arizona Health Sciences (UAHS), where he is responsible for developing precision-health strategies and approaches to health outcomes and health-care delivery.
Dr. Ramos provides senior leadership in the development of personal diagnostics and therapeutics for complex diseases, including cancer, cardiopulmonary disorders and diabetes. He works in collaboration with the deans of the five UAHS colleges, clinical department heads, institute and center directors, Banner – University Medicine, and external stakeholders to develop and implement novel, high-impact programs and initiatives in precision health.
He is also a professor of medicine, at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson in the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Sleep and Critical Care Medicine, where he directs his highly competitive and innovative research program in translational and clinical genetics and genomics and collaborates with numerous research groups across the UA campus.
Prior to his appointment, Dr. Ramos was with the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, where he served as distinguished scholar and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He was director of the Center for Genetics and Molecular Medicine and the Center for Environmental Genomics and Integrative Biology (a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences core center), and chief scientific adviser for the Clinical Trials Laboratory. He was affiliated with the J.G. Brown Cancer Center, Birth Defects Center, Gheens Center for the Study of Aging, Center for Regulatory and Environmental Analytical Metabolomics, and Bioinformatics Initiative.
Dr. Ramos has also held faculty positions at Texas A&M University, where he held the Chester J. Reed Endowed Chair in Molecular Toxicology and oversaw the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Rural Health; Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Drexel University and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
He has received more than $50 million in research funding, including R01, P01 and P30 grants, and has made seminal contributions in the areas of molecular toxicology, environmental health sciences, toxicogenomic and molecular medicine. As a senior scientist, he has been responsible for leading diverse research teams, conducting independent and collaborative research in biochemistry; bioinformatics; cell, computational, developmental, in vitro, molecular and theoretical biology; chemistry; environmental health; epigenetics; experimental therapeutics; genomics; nephrology; neurobiology; nutrition; oncology; pathology; pharmacology; physiology; public health and teratology. He has provided senior leadership in scientific and strategic research planning at the local, regional, national and international levels.
Dr. Ramos is recognized as a leading expert in the study of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions and genomic medicine. His research program integrates diverse approaches, ranging from molecular genetics to population-based public health studies in efforts to understand the genetic and genomic basis of human disease and to advance the goals of precision medicine. Ongoing basic science studies in his laboratory focus on repetitive genetic elements in the mammalian genome and their role in genome plasticity and disease, while his clinical work focuses on the characterization of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for chronic disease and cancer.
Larissa Avilés-Santa, MD, MPH Secretary of the Board
Larissa Avilés-Santa, M.D., M.P.H.
Larissa Avilés-Santa, MD, MPH, FACP, FACE, was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras Campus, and subsequently received her medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in internal medicine at the University Hospital in San Juan. Following her residency, she moved to Texas to pursue subspecialty training in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
After completing her fellowship, Dr. Avilés-Santa joined the faculty of the Endocrine Division at UT Southwestern. As a faculty member, she worked in direct patient care, teaching and clinical research in diabetes. Her main clinical research interest focused on understanding the relationship between improvement in glycemic control and traditional and non-traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors in young Hispanics/Latinos with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. While working at UT Southwestern, she obtained her Master Degree in Public Health at the Dallas satellite campus of the University of Texas at Houston School of Public Health.
She joined the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health in 2006. She is the Project Director of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), the largest and most comprehensive study on Hispanic/Latino health to date. In 2015, she created the NIH Hispanic Health Research Scientific Interest Group, the first NIH scientific group of this nature. In these roles she has had the unique opportunity to mentor early career investigators in the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico interested in making contributions towards the improvement of the health of Hispanics/Latinos.
Dr. Avilés-Santa is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Endocrinology. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology. She is a member of the American College of Physicians, the Endocrine Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
Gualberto (Gil) Medina, Esq., CPA Treasurer of the Board
Gualberto (Gil) Medina
Gualberto (Gil) Medina joined the United States Commercial Real Estate Services (CBRE) in June 2013 as an Executive Vice President. Gil provides and coordinates integrated real estate solutions for corporate, governmental, non-profit and academic organizations. He is responsible for local and global business development across all CBRE service lines including: Office, Industrial, and Retail Brokerage; Asset Services; Project Management; and Financial Consulting. As part of developing and expanding major account service offerings, Gil provides corporate occupiers with multi-disciplined, high level strategic advisory expertise. In addition, Gil is involved with multiple strategic initiatives focused on business development and industry advancements.
Former, New Jersey state commerce secretary, Gil was the point-person in the creation of incentive, finance and regulatory programs that constitute the state’s core economic growth policies. He remains a key voice in the New Jersey commercial real estate industry, the larger business community, and public-private sector efforts that are guiding the state’s future economic health. In his professional career in both the public and private sectors, Gil negotiated over $5 Billion in incentives. Gil is an attorney, CPA and licensed real estate broker who has extensive expertise in management, sales, business development, technology, and regulatory matters. He serves as an advisor on economic growth policy to government officials in various states and large metropolitan centers.
Executive Managing Director Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. (Managed firm’s New Jersey offices).
Secretary of Commerce for the State of New Jersey
President/General Counsel, start-up Biotechnology company (Arcanum Discovery, Inc.)
Vice President of International Marketing, VOIP Firm (Net2Phone, Inc.)
Manager at two Regional CPA Firms in Philadelphia
Sole law practitioner
Litigation Attorney – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Professional Recognition and Achievements:
The President of Brazil conferred the Rank of Commander in the Order of Cruzeiro do Sul. This is the highest honor bestowed on foreign nationals by the Republic of Brazil, in recognition of valuable services rendered to the Republic and its citizens
Informal Experts Group on IP Telephony of the International Telecommunication Union’s World Policy Forum on IP Telephony
Served as a resource person for the ITU, the Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of State on telecommunications policy
New Jersey Biotechnology Industry Organization Distinguished Service Award
The US Biotechnology Industry Organization State Executive of the Year
National Association of Industrial and Commercial Properties Industry Service Award
City Councilman in the City of Camden, New Jersey
Inducted into the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame
Boards, Organizations and Public Policy:
Chairman of the Board of Solix Corporation, a process outsourcing firm that employs 1000 people throughout the U.S.
New Jersey’s National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) – BoD. Served as VP Associate Affairs
New Jersey Chamber of Commerce – Executive Committee
Rutgers University School of Business – Advisory Board
Rutgers University School of Business Real Estate Center – Executive Committee
Rutgers University – Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy – Chairman of the Dean’s Leadership Council
Board of Trustees – Thomas Edison State College – Served a two year term as Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees & Vice Chairman – Puerto Rico Science Technology & Research Trust
Board of Trustees – Caucus Education Corporation, Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation
Donald H. Sebastian is the Senior Vice President for Research & Development at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is responsible for academic affairs across all six colleges as well the academic research enterprise, developing partnerships with industry and managing governmental affairs, intellectual property development, business incubation, commercialization, and contract projects across the technology spectrum. Under his leadership, the university’s sponsored research grew to over $90M in 2008, placing NJIT in the top 10 engineering universities in the nation, while Federal funding doubled over the last seven years. In 2006 he was inducted into the New Jersey High-Tech Hall of Fame.
Dr. Sebastian is the academic lead developing the Newark Institute for Regenerative Medicine that has been awarded a state grant of $50M to build and equip a 100,000 square foot facility connecting clinical practice using adult stem cell therapies back to basic research in close collaboration with industrial partners. The facility is a key element of the economic development plans for the University Heights district of Newark. The biotech focus complements economic development stemming from the Port Newark expansion – a project that benefits from NJIT-led assistance resulting in a $100M USDOT appropriation to the state of New Jersey (NJ) for Liberty Corridor development and designation as a corridor of national significance.
He has been the institutional lead in a State program to develop child-safe weapons technology that has drawn international media coverage, and attracted over $4M in state and federal support to develop the first biometric-based safety system for handguns. Dr. Sebastian was the principal academic organizer of the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium, bringing the resources of the Lucent Bell Labs Silicon Fabrication Research lab and e-Beam nano-facility to the statewide research community. He served as the first Chairman of the Board.
Currently, Dr. Sebastian is professor in the Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering. He joined NJIT in 1995 and was later appointed executive director of the Center for Manufacturing Systems. In 1996, Dr. Sebastian was the founder of the NJ Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc., New Jersey’s operation under the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)-sponsored, statewide assistance program for small to mid-sized manufacturers that has leveraged over $15M in federal funding. He continues as a member of the corporation’s Board of Directors.
Graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1974, he received his Bachelor of Engineering at Stevens, followed by a Masters of Engineering in 1975, and the Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1977.
Carmen D. Zorrilla, MD Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, Medical Sciences Campus (MSC), and Interim Dean of Research at the UPR-MSC. She is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Academy of HIV Medicine. With experience in Ob-Gyn, HIV and COVID-19 related research that includes behavioral interventions and clinical trials with HIV infected and at-risk populations, as well as with pregnant and non-pregnant women. She was part of the group of examiners for the American Oral Board of Ob-Gyn (ABOG) for 22 years. She established an infrastructure for the care of pregnant and nonpregnant women living with HIV and leader in the successful efforts to eliminate the perinatal transmission of HIV in Puerto Rico. With zero transmission for the past 2 decades at her clinic, she also served as PI for the Integrated UPR Clinical Trials Unit (IUPR-CTU), and the UPR Mentoring Institute for HIV and Mental Health sponsored by NIAID and NIMH. A former member of the NIH Disparities and Minority Health Advisory Council (NACMHD) for the past 4 years, she has been a consultant for diverse national and international organizations including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Agency for Health Research Quality (AHRQ), the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) and others, and a former member of the Office of Women’s Health Advisory Committee and the CDC/HRSA AIDS and STD Advisory Committee (CHAC). Dr. Zorrilla has received multiple distinctions: PR Senate resolution and Distinction (1990), UPR President’s Recognition (2000), the “Bajari Award” by the PR Science, Technology and Research Trust for leadership in science and academia; a PR Senate Resolution and Diploma for contributions to eliminate HIV perinatal transmission and the APPIA-association of people living and affected by HIV-recognition of research and services on behalf of women living with HIV.
Dr. Zorrilla established the first group prenatal care program in PR (Centering Pregnancy) with funds from the Innovation Center of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the first Spanish Centering Program outside of the mainland USA. The program had a reduction in preterm births and low birth weight among infants born of women enrolled in group prenatal care. Expanding the program to improve the health of mothers and infants is one of her professional goals. She established a multidisciplinary clinic for pregnant women with Zika in 2016 and implemented the Zika in Infants and Pregnancy (ZIP Study) in San Juan.
During the COVID-19 pandemic she spearheaded the development of a Molecular testing program at the RCM, a Phase III vaccine trial and a COVID Vaccine Center with a 97% vaccination rate of the faculty, students, and staff at the UPR-MSC. She is a member of the Scientific Coalition named by PR Governor Hon. Pedro Pierluisi, to advise on issues related to the COVID pandemic response and to further incorporate the input of Science into public policy.
Dr. Eneida Nemecek is a Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Oncology and Medical director of Clinical Research at the Knight Cancer Institute-Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. Native from Puerto Rico, she completed her Pediatric residency at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. She has a Master in Epidemiology and Clinical Research from the University of Washington and a Master in Healthcare Business Administration from OHSU. Dr. Nemecek is an established clinical researcher with over 20 years of experience in trials ranging from investigator-initiated early phase to large, multicenter studies funded by a variety of mechanisms. Her research focuses on bone marrow and cellular therapies, experimental oncology therapeutics and health services research addressing disparities in access for underrepresented groups. She has served in leadership roles in steering committees for several national cooperative research groups. She has also held elected leadership positions as director, trustee or committee chair in multiple professional organizations.
Amarilys Silva-Boschetti, PharmD Executive Director
Dr. Amarilys Silva, Pharm. D
Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) with diverse experience working in Healthcare and global exposure in the Pharmaceutical Industry in the areas of Research, Medical Affairs, Global Product Safety/Pharmacovigilance, Regulatory Affairs. Dr. Silva holds a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, School of Pharmacy, and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Florida, Gainesville. Proficient in multiple Therapeutic Areas, Academic partnerships, Compliance, GxPs, Auditing (FDA, EMEA, etc.) along with strong managerial and clinical experience.
Dr. Silva is recognized as a leader in Clinical Research by the Puerto Rico medical community, Academia, government institutions, and pharmaceutical industry. She is also recognized as a partner of excellence and has developed relationships of mutual trust and respect with many internal and external stakeholders in US and Puerto Rico. Dr. Silva is passionate about diversity and inclusion. She is focused on innovation to help improve patient outcomes.
Ricardo Garcia Toledo, CPA –Finance Lead at PRCCI- career began on public accounting transitioning then to the manufacturing industry (medical devices, pharmaceutical and contract manufacturing) acquiring extensive experience supporting multiple sites and organizations. Ricardo completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration-Accounting from the University of PR-Bayamón and is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Former employers include; KPMG, Wyeth and Merck and also other organizations (construction, service, retail) as a consultant. Ricardo’s accomplishments include implementation of SAP, lean manufacturing processes, legal entity integrations, contracts re-negotiation, worldwide product cost standardization project, time and attendance systems and foreign trade zone implementation among others. Ricardo’s experience includes; financial planning (budgeting and forecasting), financial reporting, incremental costing analysis, financial analysis, inventory, compliance, taxes, payroll, collections, accounts payables and general accounting.
Jorge Martínez, MPH Clinical Research Operations Lead
Jorge Martínez, MPH
Jorge Martínez is the Research Operations Lead for PRCCI. Jorge has a Bachelor’s Degree in General Science from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus. Since college, he has always had a passion for science and health. After graduating from his Master’s Degree, he worked supporting the island’s Primary Health Centers in their educational programs. Jorge also took an introductory research program at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Caribbean Healthcare System in which he was coordinator for two studies in the area of Emergency Management. Martínez works directly with stakeholders, including Sponsors, Clinical Research Organizations, among others, to help the growth of clinical investigation in Puerto Rico.
Astrid Díaz Quiñones, MSc Clinical Research Manager
Astrid Díaz Quiñones, MSc
Astrid Díaz is currently a Clinical Research Manager for PRCCI. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey Campus and a Master’s in Science Degree in Public Health with Epidemiology Specialty from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, School of Public Health. Her experience stems from working on different neurology clinical trials and genetic and observational studies in the area of multiple sclerosis collaborating with universities on the USA, within the operations and quality departments. Her role supports PRCCI’s mission and increase the participation of Hispanic patients on clinical trials to be able to find benefits for our communities.
Mitzy González, EdD
Training and HIPAA Compliance Officer
Mitzy joined the PRCCI team as Training and HIPAA Privacy Officer. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico, a master’s degree in Professional Counseling from the University of Phoenix, a doctorate in Education with a specialty in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University(NSU) and a Neuroscience and Mindfulness certificate from The Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience. Back on August 2021 she obtained her Doctor of Education, EdD degree from NSU.
During her over twelve years of experience as health professional she has specialized in addictive disorders and mental health. Mitzy has a passion for the well-being of patients, their privacy, healthy lifestyles and development of health prevention skills. Among other areas, Mitzy has actively collaborated with support groups on seminars addresing topics ranging from empowerment to leadership and prevention.
Zulmarie Vázquez, MBA Research Grants Project Manager All of Us Research Program
Zulmarie Vázquez, MBA
Zulmarie Vázquez, MBA
Research Grants Project Manager
All of Us Research Program
Our team’s success is driven by collaboration. Our goal is to establish diversity across our research initiatives and promote patient’s well-being. Together, we strive to deliver outstanding results and provide exceptional services to our stakeholders.
Obed Pérez is the Operations and Business Development Specialist for PRCCI. Obed obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on Management from the University of Puerto Rico. He completed an internship program in the pharmaceutical industry where he obtained hands on experience on project management, process improvements, cost reductions, operational excellence, GMP regulations, supply chain management on warehouse & logistics, sourcing & procurement and planning functions. His major focus was on plant capacity production planning and performance metrics.
Ana Doris Gómez Granados
Clinical Research Quality Specialist
Ana Doris Gómez Granados
Ana Doris came to PRCCI in 2020. She seeks to use her skills and experience for the advantage of clinical trials.
Her experience includes various health and sciences fields. Ana Doris studied Clinical Laboratory Sciences as well as a Diplomate in Environmental Microbiology at the University of Santander in Colombia. Following that, a few years later she received an MS in Biomedical Sciences at the Industrial University of Santander in Colombia. She served as a professor in Colombia where she mentored undergraduates and graduate students from research to experiments and general guidance of the fields. Coming to Puerto Rico, she became a Healthcare Service Representative, supporting health insurance holders.
Zuna joined the PRCCI team in 2019 as Strategic Communications Consultant reporting to Dr. Amarilys Silva. She provides internal and external strategic communications advice with the main focus on: communications platform design, institutional identity, and targeted communications programs for core publics among the clinical research ecosystem and the general public. Zuna obtained a Master’s degree in Public Relations from Boston University and a Bachelor’s in communications from the University of PR Communications School.
She has a solid track record directing institutional communications for worldwide pharmaceutical and banking corporations, managing local and international top public relations firms in the island and the academia acting as Coordinator and Professor for the University of the Sacred Heart Graduate Public Relations program, first to be established in the island. Also, she is skilled in Strategic Communications, Issue & Reputation Management, Advocacy & Coalition Building, Corporate Responsibility, and Media Relations initiatives. She is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America and licensed by the PR Public Relations Association (ARPPR, acronym in Spanish) and has received multiple recognitions by the ARPPR, trade associations, and news publications.
These talented individuals form the backbone of our team, working together harmoniously to achieve excellence in all that we do. Get to know each team member better and discover how their expertise and dedication drive our organization’s success.
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