Gregorio Valdez, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, College of Science, Virginia Tech
Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
The Valdez Laboratory is interested in discovering molecules that protect synapses from the ravages of aging and age-related neurological diseases. Synapses are the sites where information is received and transmitted throughout the central nervous system and between motor neurons and muscles. They are also a primary site of entry for growth factors and other molecules that neurons and muscles need to properly function and survive. Unfortunately, aging and a variety of diseases cause this critical bridge of communication and port of entry to fall apart, resulting in the erosion of cognitive and motor skills. Because of this, Valdez and his team are invested in discovering and manipulating molecules that function to prevent the destruction of synapses. In much of the laboratory's work, the researchers study the motor neuron and muscle synapse, the neuromuscular junction. This is a large and readily accessible synapse that is significantly affected by normal aging and the progression of diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Using mouse models of injury, disease, and normal development and aging, the scientists seek to identify new molecules and signaling pathways that serve to protect or maintain healthy synapses. Valdez and his team utilize a number of molecular and imaging techniques, including chronic in vivo imaging, genetic manipulations, and viral-based vectors. The hope is that some of these molecules, in addition to maintaining the neuromuscular junction, will dually function to maintain the proper functioning of brain synapses.
For a more complete listing of Gregorio Valdez's publications, visit PubMed.
Education and Training
- Harvard University: Postdoctoral fellowship , Molecular and Cellular Biology
- Stony Brook University: PhD , Neurobiology and Behavior
- Lehman College/CUNY: BS , Biochemistry
- Harvard University
Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Awards and Honors
- Distinguished Honoree, March of Dimes, 2015
- Finalist, Earl Stadtman Investigators Search, National Institutes of Health, 2011-2012
- Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, National Institutes of Health, 2007-2010
- Carl Storm URM Fellowship, Gordon Research Conference, 2006
- Minority Biomedical Research Support, National Institutes of Health, 1993-1996