Wanda Vélez

Associate Professor
Ph.D., 1998; Tufts University, Boston, MA
ORCID #0000-0001-5310-1209

Academic Department(s)

Research Area

Research Interest
Torpedo acetylcholine receptor

Dr. Vélez is studying the mechanisms for the reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokine levels after treatment with a natural compound found in tobacco called 4R cembranoid. This compound has been shown to allosterically modulate the alpha 7 nicotinic receptor. The alpha 7 receptor is a homopentameric membrane receptor found in neuronal and non-neuronal cells such as macrophages. During inflammation, activation of the alpha 7 receptor helps maintain balance between the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Selected Publications 
Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism of 4R-Cembranoid. Vélez-Carrasco W, Green CE, Catz P, Furimsky A, O´Loughlin K, Eterovic VA, Ferchmin PA.  PLoS One. 2015 Mar 26;10(3):e0121540. PMID: 25811857 PMCID: 4374761
Dietary methionine effects on plasma homocysteine and HDL metabolism in mice. Velez-Carrasco W, Merkel M, Twiss CO, Smith JD. J Nutr Biochem. 2008 Jun;19(6):362-70. 
Alpha-conotoxin residues that interact at close range with gamma-tyrosine-111 and mutant delta-tyrosine-113 on the Torpedo nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Vélez-Carrasco W, Valdés S, Agresar L, Lettich A, Guerra AY, Hann RM. Biochemistry. 2004 Oct 5;43(39):12700-8.
Fish consumption shifts lipoprotein subfractions to a less atherogenic pattern in humans. Li Z, Lamon-Fava S, Otvos J, Lichtenstein AH, Velez-Carrasco W, McNamara JR, Ordovas JM, Schaefer EJ. J Nutr. 2004 Jul;134(7):1724-8.
Dietary and plasma lipid, lipoprotein, and apolipoprotein profiles among elderly Hispanics and non-Hispanics and their association with diabetes. Bermudez OI, Velez-Carrasco W, Schaefer EJ, Tucker KL. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Dec;76(6):1214-21.
Contact Information
Universidad Central del Caribe
P.O. Box 60327
Bayamón, PR 00960-6032

Tel.: (787) 798-3001 x 2036
e-mail: wanda.velez@uccaribe.edu