Research Centers


Institute of Research, Education, and Services on Addiction (IRESA)

The Institute of Research, Education, and Services on Addiction (IRESA) was established in 1992 as Center for Addiction Studies (CEA).  The purpose of IRESA is to promote and develop research, education, and services for substance use and other behavioral health conditions in Puerto Rico and the Latino communities in the United States.  It has conducted an array of initiatives in prevention and substance use treatment and recovery support services, criminal justice, homelessness, HIV, and workforce development.  In addition to these roles, the evolution of the Institute provides and excellent example of the seamless integration of research, education, and services in the substance use and behavioral health field.

IRESA has contributed in the Scientific research field in the following areas:

•Clinical and demonstrative research site (e.g., Clinical Trial – Brief Strategic Family Therapy [BSFT]).
•Epidemiologic surveillance and monitor for drug use among adolescents in school.
•Key resource in the presentation of HIV infection among persons with substance use disorders.
•Supporter in the development of intervention models to reduce HIV risk behaviors by promoting substance use treatment engagement and retention among those individuals using substances.
•Consultant in the implications and interpretations of data on substance use the correlations and consequences that have strengthened the education/teaching/methods and intervention in the substance use field.
•Developer of peer-reviewed publications, articles, and presentations related to substance use disorders and behavioral health field.
•Developer of an evidence-based practice for HIV prevention, Modelo de Intervención Psicomédica  (MIP), included in the DEBIs on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
•Effectivity of behavioral health intervention to improve the quality of life in Latinas receiving combined substance use disorders and trauma-specific treatment.

Contact Information
Ibis S. Carrión-González, Psy.D.



Integrative Center for Glial Research

The Center unifies a multi-institutional group of researchers focused on glial cell investigation and oriented to disorders originated by or related to glial cell function and pathology.  The center represents scientific research groups from UCC, UPR and Interamerican University (Bayamon).  At UCC there is a large group of researchers from the basic sciences departments who share interrelated research interests in neuroglial cell physiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacology and biophysics.  The Center has developed a core facility named The Innovative Glial Technology Core: which provides new techniques to investigate glial cell functions.  This is necessary because glial cells  (the “silent brain”) do not generate spikes.  Instead, glial signaling in brain is through molecular and ionic mechanisms inside of the glial syncitium and between glia and neurons. These signaling avenues use a wide variety of molecules which can be detected with the help of new techniques developed and installed by the core.  In addition, the Center uses common core facilities, such as the Common Instrumentation Area, the Optical Imaging Facility and the Protein and Nucleic Acid Core Facility, Behavioral  Testing Facility and the Neuronal Glial Culture Facility which provide services to Center members.  The Center is led by the Director (Dr. Skatchkov, Distinguished Professor of Physiology and Biochemistry) who is assisted by an Associate Scientific Director (Dr. Eaton, Professor of Biochemistry). The Center has established wide-spread national and international partnerships.  The Center coordinates lab meetings, journal clubs, seminars, workshops and an Annual Symposium “CaribeGLIA” which is attend by distinguished national and international glial researchers, physicians, students and associates.

Research Projects:
•Glial polyamines: regulation of the neuronal-glial network
•Functional role of 2P-domain potassium channels in astrocytes in norm and pathophysiology
•Function of glial Kir channels in epilepsy and ischemia
•Structure-Function Relationship of Connexin hemichannels and gap-junctions in neuroglia
•Organic Cation Transporters (OCT-1 and OCT-3) in glia: role in mono-and poly-amine uptake/release
•Role of glial cells in drug addiction
•Glioblastoma: the interaction of astrocytes, microglia and glioma cells
•Living light guides in retina: role and mechanisms of Müller cells in light propagation
•Novel glial markers during astrocyte differentiation
Contact Information


Retrovirus Research Center

The Retrovirus Research Center is a multidisciplinary research center for the study of HIV/AIDS and other Retroviruses.  The center promotes the study of HIV infection as a multidisciplinary research arena in which the clinical features, immunological, and virological elements and the psychological and behavioral parameters need to be integrated into a coherent research strategy.  The center brings together a coalition of multidisciplinary researchers whose interest is to describe and understand key elements that play a role in the progression and/or expression of HIV infection according to an ecological view of the problem.

Research Projects:

•HIV/AIDS Data Core: Studies the natural history of AIDS disease among the Puerto Rican population.
•HCV Risk Reduction Intervention as Secondary Co-Morbidity Prevention
•ASUMA: A Supportive Model for HIV Risk Reduction in Early Adolescents
Contact Information
Angel Mayor, M.D.