Seminar Series: Carmen Maldonado-Vlaar, Ph.D. (UPR)

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Tuesday, 10 October, 2023 - 12:30 pm to Tuesday, 10 October, 2023 - 1:30 pm



Professor of Neuroscience and Chair Department of Biology in the College of Natural Sciences on the Rio Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico


"Are the endovanilloid TRPV1 receptors within the mesolimbic system playing a role in anxiety and depression?”


Dr. Carmen S. Maldonado-Vlaar received her PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University under the mentorship of Dr. Ann E. Kelley. She continued with post-doctoral training at the Department of Neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute with Dr. George F. Koob. For the past 27 years, Dr. Maldonado-Vlaar has been a faculty member of the Department of Biology at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus (UPR-RP). During her research and academic career, she has successfully mentored dozens of undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented minorities (URM) in the field of Neuroscience. Moreover, she has taught numerous Neuroscience courses in her institution at both levels. Dr. Maldonado-Vlaar’s scientific research is based on an ongoing interest to discover and characterize potential therapeutic cellular targets that are important in cocaine addiction treatment and other mental disorders. Her work has been published in premier scientific journals and she has served as Assisting Editor for Behavioral Neuroscience Journal. At the UPR-RP, she served as institutional coordinator for The Leadership Alliance and for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship. She has extensive administrative experience as Chair of the Department of Biology and as Dean of Graduate Studies and Research. In addition, she has devoted countless hours to mentoring neuroscientists at all career stages from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds at the local and national level.

In her laboratory, Dr. Maldonado-Vlaar has mentored more than 100 Hispanic undergraduate students of which more than 70 percent were women. She was Principal and Co-Investigator of many training programs aimed at promoting increased access of women and members of URMs to careers in the Neurosciences.  These include programs at the Marine Biological Laboratory Summer Program in Neuroscience, Ethics, and Success (SPINES); the Training Advisory Committee (TAC) for Diversity Program in Neuroscience (DPN) from the American Psychological Association; the Neuroscience Graduate Resilience, Affirmation and Diversity Program  (NeuroGRAD); and the Neuroscience Research Opportunities to Increase Diversity (NeuroID) Training grants for graduate and undergraduate students in the Neuroscience funded by the BP-ENDURE program from National Institute Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Dr. Maldonado-Vlaar established the first Center for Undergraduate Research and Learning (CRIIAS, by its Spanish acronym) at the UPR-RP and she is the Principal Investigator of various institutional grants with significant impact. In October 2020, Dr. Maldonado-Vlaar was the first Puerto Rican Latina neuroscientist to receive the Bernice Grafstein Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Mentoring from the Society for Neuroscience. Since 2021, she serves as member of the SfN Professional Development Committee and is currently the Chair of the Neuroscience Scholar Program Subcommittee.