University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus

Specialized Neurosciences Research Program   ( SNRP )

Funded by a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke (U54NS0430311), National Institutes of Health


Loyda Meléndez, Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology and Zoology
UPR, School of Medicine
PO Box 365067
San Juan, PR 00936-5067
Tel. (787) 758-6132

Loyda Meléndez, Ph.D.

Research Interest

HIV pathogenesis, neuroscience, and proteomics

Research Projects

  1. Modulation of cystatins and cathepsins in HIV Neuropathogenesis

    Current studies will determine the role of macrophage cystatins, cathepsins, and the proteins affected by their deregulation in HIV replication and neurotoxicity.

  2. RCMI Translational Proteomics Center

    In the second cycle of this 5-year grant (2011-2016) the major goals of this activity are to expand our research core capabilities in Clinical and Basic Science Proteomics and to increase research productivity of Puerto Rico investigators using Proteomics that would lead to improved diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring in health disparities. Infrastructure support provided in part by grants from the National Center for Research Resources (2G12 RR003051) and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (8G12MD007600).


1974-1979: University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, PR: BS Medical Technology

1979-1981: University of Georgia, Athens, GA: MS Microbiology

1985-1990: Emory University and CDC, Atlanta, GA: PhD Exp. Pathology

1990-1992: Emory University, Atlanta, GA: Post-doct Infectious Diseases


2002-present: Professor, Dept. of Microbiology, UPR School of Medicine.

1997-2002: Associate Professor, Dept. of Microbiology, UPR School of Medicine.

1993-1997: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Microbiology, UPR School of Medicine.

1991-1993: Instructor, Department of Microbiology, UPR School of Medicine.

1991-92: Post-doctoral Research Immunologist, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Emory University of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

1990-1991: Research Specialist II, Emory University Hospital, Blood Bank Laboratory, Atlanta, Georgia.

1983-1985: Instructor, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, College of Health Allied Professions, Interdisciplinary Division, San Juan, PR.

1982-1983: Instructor, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, College of Health Allied Professions, Medical Technology Program.

1981-1982: Quality Control Microbiologist, Baxter-Travenol Laboratories, Carolina, PR.

Additional Training Relevant to Area of Project

1992: Flow Cytometry Workshop, Atlanta, Georgia.

1992: Presentor and Participant Placenta and HIV workshop, sponsored by Trophoblast Research Society. Rochester, NY.

1994: PCR Workshop, sponsored by RCMI, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

1995: RNA and DNA PCR Dr. Ivonne Bryson Laboratory, Training at UCLA, Los ángeles, California.

1996: Amplicor PCR HIV Monitor (RNA) Quantitation. Roche Molecular Systems, Somerville, New Jersey.

2001: Summer Training on recombinant DNA and Special Topics in Biotechnology. NIH

2002: Ciphergen Training on Proteomics

Honors and Awards

1985-1989: Minority Access Research Career faculty fellowship from NIH for doctoral studies.

1991-92: Co-investigator in an NIH funded research grant entitled: "HIV placental infection in vitro experimental models". NICH5RO1HD26634-02.

1993: Minority Scientist Travel Award for the participation in the NIH AIDS Postdoctoral Fellows meeting along with the Keystone Symposia on AIDS at Albuquerque, New Mexico.

1993: Minority Scientist Travel Award for the participation in the "First National HIV Meeting". Washington DC.

1993-1995: Principal Investigator in a CIDIC funded research project entitled: "Role of the Placenta in HIV-1 vertical transmission".

1994-1996: Co-investigator in RCMI-NIH funded research grant entitled HIV-1 ENV gene variation and tropism in vertical transmission. RR-03051.

1996-1997: Co-investigator in a RCMI-CFAR collaborative project entitled: "Role of viral load and maternal antibodies in vertical transmission of HIV". G12 RR-03051 and P30 AI-27767.

1996-2000: Principal Investigator in NIH-MBRS Program funded research grant entitled: "Role of the Placenta in Vertical Transmission of HIV-1". SO6 GM08224.

1996: Professional Excellence Award from the Dean of College of Health Allied Professions.

1998: FASEB Travel Award for Summer Research Conference on "Virus Assembly".

1999: Glaxo-Wellcome Research Award - Fourth place in the Category of Researcher

2000-2004: Principal Investigator in NIH-SCORE Program funded research grant entitled: "Role of Chemokine Receptors in HIV- 1 infection across the placenta". SO6 GM08224-16.

2000-2004: MSC Institutional Biosafety Committee Chairperson 2001-2002: Coordinator of NIH-RISE activity entitled: "Research Participation by Students". SO6GM61838

2001-present: Principal Investigator in the activity entitled: "Monocyte immunity and HIV associated dementia". NIH-NIND Specialized Program in NeuroAIDS. 1 U54 NS43011

2003: Chair at the International Keystone Symposia on HIV Pathogenesis

2003: Interviews and results of the NeuroAIDS study: "Molecular Fingerprints Predicts HIV-Associated Dementia" were published on line at the NIH news website

2003: Core developer of the SELDI-TOF instrument awarded from NIH-NCRR

2004: Invited Speaker at the NIH NeuroAIDS meeting "Molecular Markers and Mechanisms of HIV-Induced Nervous System Disease 2004-2008: Principal Investigator in NIH-SCORE Program funded research grant entitled: Protein Profiling of "putative" antiretroviral factors in placental macrophages. SO6 GM08224


Selected peer-reviewed Publications
  1. Melendez L, Nicholson J, and MacDougal S. 1990. Infection of Human Monocytes with HIV-1Ba-L. Effect on Accessory Cell Function for T-Cell Proliferation In Vitro. AIDS Res and Human Retroviruses 7(5): 465-474.

  2. Arroyo MA, Tien H, Pagán M, Swanstrom R, Hillyer GV, Cadilla CL, and L.M. Meléndez-Guerrero. 2002. Virologic Risk Factors for Vertical Transmission of HIV Type 1 in Puerto Rico. AIDS Res and Human Retroviruses. April 2002, 18(6): 447-460.

  3. Laspiur J, Anderson E, Ciborowski, P, Wojna V, Plaud-Valentin,M., Rodriguez, E., Duan F., Wojna V, Mayo R, Rodríguez-Orengo J, Gendelman HE, and Meléndez LM. 2007.CSF proteomics in HIV-1 associated cognitive impairment. J. Neuroimmunol. 192:157-170.

  4. Rozek, W, Ricardo-Dukelow M, Holloway S, Gendelman HE, Wojna V, Melendez LM, and Ciborowski P. 2007. Cerebrospinal fluid proteomics profiling of HIV-1-infected patients with or at risk for cognitive impairment. J Proteome Research. 6:4189-4199.

  5. Luciano-Montalvo C and Melendez, LM. 2009. Cystatin B Associates with signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 in monocyte-derived and placental macrophages. Placenta 30:464-467.

  6. Velázquez I, Plaud M, Pérez-Laspiur J, Skolasky R, Wojna V and Meléndez LM. 2009. Antioxidant enzyme dysfunction in monocytes and CSF of Hispanic women with HIV-associated cognitive impairment. J Neuroimmunol 209:206-211.

  7. Toro Nieves D, Perez Laspiur J, Ciborowski P, Duan F, Wojna V, Meléndez LM. 2009. Proteomic analysis of HIV-1 infected monocyte-derived macrophage following infection with primary viral strains isolated from Hispanic women with cognitive impairment. J Neurovirology 1:36-50.

  8. Kraft-Terry S, Gerena Y, Wojna V, Plaud-Valentin M, Rodriguez Y, Ciborowski P, Mayo R, Skolasky R, Gendelman HE, Melendez LM. 2010. Proteomics analysis of monocytes from Hispanic women with HIV-associated dementia show depressed antioxidants. J. Proteomics and Clinical Applications 4:710-714.

  9. Peters J, Dieppa-Perea L, Melendez LM, Quirk GJ. 2010. Induction of fear extinction with hippocampus infralimbic BDNF. Science 238:1288-1290.

  10. Melendez LM, Colon K, Rivera L Rodriguez-Franco E, and Toro-Nieves D (Mentee, RISE). 2011. Proteomic analysis of HIV-infected macrophages. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 6:89-106.

  11. Rivera L, Perez-Laspiur J, Colon, K, and Melendez, L. 2011. Inhibition of interferon response by cystatin B: Implication in HIV replication of macrophage reservoirs. J Neurovirology 18:20-9.

  12. Rodriguez E, Cantres Y, Plaud M, Romeu R, Rodriguez Y, Skolasky R, Melendez V, Cadilla C, and Melendez L. 2012. Dysregulation of macrophage-secreted cathepsin B contributes to HIV-1-linked neuronal apoptosis. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36571. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036571.

  13. Cantres Y, Plaud-Valentin M, Gerena Y, Skolasky R, Wojna V, Meléndez LM. Dysregulation of cathepsin B and its inhibitor cystatin B in monocytes and CSF from women with HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment. AIDS. 2013 Jan 28; 27(3):347-56

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