Assistant Professor of Biology

Alex Martinez

University of the Incarnate Word
4301 Broadway
Agnese/Sosa 108
San Antonio, TX 78209
Phone Number: (210) 283-5033
E-Mail: aamarti4@uiwtx.edu

  • Education

    01/2014 University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA)
    Ph.D. Biomedical Science – Department of Pharmacology

    Thesis Title: Cannabinoid and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors as anti-dyskinetic targets.
    Thesis Advisor: Andrea Giuffrida, Ph.D.

    05/2004 St. Mary’s University – San Antonio, Texas
    B.A. Biology

  • Teaching Experience

    08/2017-Present Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track), Biology Department, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX

    08/2013- 05/2017 Visiting Assistant Professor, Biology Department, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX

    08/2012-05/2013 Adjunct Professor, Biology Department, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX

    01/2010-05/2010 Guest Lecturer, Dental Hygiene Pharmacotherapeutics Course, UTHSCSA

    01/2009-05/2009 Part-time Instructor, Biology Department, Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas.

    01/2009-05/2009 Guest Lecturer, Dental Hygiene Pharmacotherapeutics Course, UTHSCSA

    Research Experience

    03/2014- Present Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pharmacology, UTHSCSA, (Part-time)

    10/2004-08/2007 Research Assistant, Pharmacology Dept., UTHSCSA, Laboratory of Dr. J. Roberts/Dr. A. Giuffrida

    Mentoring Experience

    05/2015- 07/2017 Carla Carmona, Voelcker Academy Scholar, Robert E. Lee High School, San Antonio, TX

    04/2011-05/2012 Mentored Jessica Briscoe, MBRS-RISE Program, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

    06/2010-08/2010 Mentored Michelle Yuan, Summer Research Intern, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

  • Funding/Service/Awards

    Funding

    Completed

    1F31NS073411-03, NIH/NINDS, 01/2011-12/2013
    Ruth L. Kirschestein National Research Service Award Individual Fellowship
    Project Title: Validation of PPARgamma Agonists as Anti-Dyskinetic Drugs
    Role: PI Description: Despite L-DOPA initial beneficial effects in treating Parkinson’s disease, its prolonged use results in the development of abnormal involuntary movements known as dyskinesia. Recent evidence suggests that activation of the nuclear receptor, PPARgamma, ameliorates these unwanted side effects once they are fully established. This proposal investigated whether co-administration of L-DOPA and a PPARgamma agonist (rosiglitazone) prevents the development of dyskinesias in a rodent model of Parkinson’s disease.

    Service

    03/2018-Present Coach/Volunteer, Catholic Youth Organization, Archdiocese of San Antonio
    01/2018-Present Faculty Sponsor, UIW SACNAS Chapter, SACNAS Local Conference Committee
    03/24/2018 Word in Action, UIW Day of Service, Time Dollar Community Connections
    04/04/2017 8th Annual CORE4STEM Family Day, Exhibit Presenter, San Antonio College

    Awards

    2013 - Best Oral Presentation, 2013 Annual Terry Mikiten GSA Research Forum, UTHSCSA
    2011 - Pharmacology Student of the Year, UTHSCSA
    2010 - Third place poster, 2010 Annual Terry Mikiten GSA Research Forum, UTHSCSA
    2010 - Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium Chairman, UTHSCSA
    2009 - Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium Co-Chairman, UTHSCS
    2008 - Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium Committee, UTHSCSA
    2000 - 2004 Presidential Scholarship, St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX.

    Society Membership

    2007 - Present Society for Neuroscience (SFN)
    2007 - Present Center for Biomedical Neuroscience, UT Health San Antonio
    2007 - 2012 Student member of the San Antonio Chapter of the SFN
    2010 - Student member of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society (IBNS)

  • Book Chapters/Publications

    1. Giuffrida A and Martinez AA. The Endocannabinoid System and Parkinson's Disease. In: The Endocannabinoid System: Genetics, Biochemistry, Brain Disorders, and Therapy. (E. Murillo-Rodriguez, ed). Elsevier, Pp 63-81 (2017).

    2. Giuffrida A and Martinez AA. Cannabinoids and levodopa-induced dyskinesia. In: Levodopa-induced Dyskinesia in Parkinson's Disease (S. Fox, J. Brotchie, eds.). Springer, Pp 245-264 (2014).

    Publications

    1. Martinez AA, Morgese MG, Pisanu A, Macheda T, Paquette MA, Seillier A, Cassano T, Carta AR and Giuffrida A. Activation of PPAR gamma receptors alleviates levodopa-induced dyskinesia in 6-OHDA-treated rats. Neurobiol Dis. 74(C):295-304 (2015). PMID: 258654
    2. Seillier A, Martinez AA and Giuffrida A. Social withdrawal in Schizophrenia: lack of endocannabinoid-induced CB1 Neuropsychopharmacology 38(9):1816-1824 (2013). PMID: 23563893
    3. Cheng B, Martinez AA, Morado J, Scofield V, Roberts JL and Maffi SK. Retinoic acid protects against proteasome inhibition associated cell death in SH-SY5Y cells via the AKT pathway. Neurochem Int. 62(1):31-42 (2013). PMID: 23142153
    4. Paquette MA, Martinez AA, Macheda T, Meshul CK, Johnson SW, Berger SP and Giuffrida A. Anti-dyskinetic mechanisms of amantadine and dextromethorphan in the 6-OHDA rat model of Parkinson's disease: role of NMDA versus 5HT1A receptors. Eur J Neurosci. 36:3224-3234. (2012). PMID: 22861201
    5. Martinez A, Macheda T, Morgese MG, Trabace L and Giuffrida A. The cannabinoid agonist WIN55212-2 decreases L-DOPA-induced PKA activation and dyskinetic behavior in 6-OHDA-treated rats. Neurosci Res. 72:236-242. (2012). PMID: 22192465
    6. Cheng B, Maffi SK, Martinez AA, Acosta YP, Morales LD and Roberts JL. Insulin-like growth factor-I mediates neuroprotection in proteasome inhibition-induced cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2011;47:181-190. (2011). PMID: 21545837
    7. Price DA, Martinez AA, Seillier A, Koek W, Acosta Y, Fernandez E, Strong JR, Lutz B., Marsicano G, Roberts JL and Giuffrida A. WIN55,212, a cannabinoid receptor agonist, protects against nigrostriatal cell loss in the MPTP mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Eur J Neurosci. 29:2177-2186. (2009). PMID: 19490092

    Invited Speaker

    1. Parkinson’s Disease and L-DOPA-Induced Dyskinesia. Trinity University Biology Department Seminar Series. Trinity University, San Antonio, TX. February 9, 2015.
    2. Martinez AA, Pisanu A, Carta AR and Giuffrida A. Activation of PPAR gamma receptors reduces levodopa-induced dyskinesia without affecting L-DOPA and dopamine bioavailability in 6-OHDA-treated rats. (Slide Presentation) Society for Neuroscience: 638.07, 2011.
    3. Tackling the debilitating side effects of Parkinson’s Disease treatment: What can we learn from a rat model? The Jose Miguel Cimadevilla Memorial Seminar Series. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX. October 29, 2010.

    Published Abstracts

    1. Martinez AA, Paquette M, Macheda T, Seillier A and Giuffrida A. Characterization of the anti-dyskinetic and anti-parkinsonian activity of PPARgamma agonist, rosiglitazone. (Poster) Society for Neuroscience: 557.17, 2010.
    2. Martinez AA, Macheda T, Seillier A, Morgese MG, Paquette MA and Giuffrida A. Activation of PPARg reduces levodopa-induced dyskinesia in 6-OHDA-treated rats. (Poster) Society for Neuroscience: 238.4, 2009.
      Scordalakes EM, Martinez AA, Cunningham RL, Lechleiter JD and Roberts JL. Neuroprotection of primary dopamine neurons changes as a function of age. (Poster) Society for Neuroscience: 140.10, 2008.
    3. Martinez AA,, Cheng B, Acosta Y, Cunningham J and Roberts JL. IGF-1 protects against rotenone-induced apoptosis in human dopaminergic cells through activation of PI3/AKT signaling pathway. (Poster) Society for Neuroscience: 702.18, 2007.
    4. Martinez AA, Bains M, Acosta Y, Cheng B and Roberts JL. (Poster) Comparison of oxidative stress responses and changes in signal transduction pathways in PC12 and SH-SY5Y cells. Society for Neuroscience: 787.11, 2005.

    Presentations at Meetings

    1. Martinez AA, Pisanu A, Carta A and Giuffrida A. L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia: From cannabinoids to PPAR receptors. (Poster) UTHSCSA Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium, San Antonio, TX (2013).
    2. Martinez AA, Pisanu A, Carta A and Giuffrida A. Rosiglitazone attenuates L-DOPA-induced increases of dyskinesia markers and PPAR beta/delta expression. (Poster) Center for Biomedical Neuroscience Annual Retreat, San Antonio, TX (2013).
    3. Martinez AA, Pisanu A, Carta A and Giuffrida A. Rosiglitazone attenuates L-DOPA-induced increases of dyskinesia markers and PPAR beta/delta expression. (Slide Presentation) UTHSCSA Annual Terry Mikiten Graduate Studen Association Research Forum, San Antonio, TX (2013).
    4. Martinez AA, Pisanu A, Carta A and Giuffrida A. The PPAR gamma agonist Rosiglitazone attenuates molecular markers of dyskinesia in 6-OHDA-treated rats. (Poster) UTHSCSA Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium, San Antonio, TX (2012).
    5. Martinez AA, Carta A and Giuffrida A. Molecular markers of dyskinesia in rats treated with the PPARgamma agonist Rosiglitazone. (Poster) Center for Biomedical Neuroscience Annual Retreat, San Antonio, TX (2012).
    6. Martinez AA, Pisanu A, Carta A and Giuffrida A. Activation of PPAR gamma receptors reduces levodopa-induced dyskinesias without affecting L-DOPA and dopamine bioavailability in 6-OHDA-treated rats. (Slide Presentation) UTHSCSA Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium, San Antonio, TX (2011).
    7. Martinez AA, Carta A and Giuffrida A. Activation of PPAR gamma receptors reduces levodopa-induced dyskinesia in 6-OHDA-treated rats. (Poster) Center for Biomedical Neuroscience Annual Retreat, San Antonio, TX (2011).
    8. Martinez AA, Yuan Y, Paquette MA and Giuffrida A. Sensorimotor tests predict the development of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in 6-OHDA rats. (Poster) UTHSCSA Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium, San Antonio, TX (2010).
    9. Martinez AA, Macheda T, Paquette MA and Giuffrida A. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) signaling in levodopa-induced dyskinesia. (Poster) Center for Biomedical Neuroscience Annual Retreat, San Antonio, TX (2010).
    10. Martinez AA, Macheda T, Paquette MA and Giuffrida A. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) signaling in levodopa-induced dyskinesia. (Poster) UTHSCSA Annual Terry Mikiten Graduate Student Association Research Forum, San Antonio, TX (2010).
    11. Martinez AA, Macheda T, Paquette MA and Giuffrida A. Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR) signaling in levodopa-induced dyskinesia. (Poster) UTHSCSA Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium, San Antonio, TX (2009).
    12. Martinez AA, Macheda T, Seillier A, Morgese MG and Giuffrida A. Activation of PPARg receptors by rosiglitazone ameliorates levodopa-induced dyskinesia in 6-OHDA-treated rats. (Poster) Center for Biomedical Neuroscience Annual Retreat, San Antonio, TX (2009).
    13. Martinez AA, Zhang W and Mifflin S. Presynaptic response to local tissue hypoxia of neurons within the nucleus of the solitary tract. (Poster) UTHSCSA Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium, San Antonio, TX (2008).
    14. Martinez AA, Cheng B, Acosta Y, Cunningham J and Roberts JL. IGF-1 protects against rotenone-induced apoptosis and death in human dopaminergic cells through activation of PI3/AKT signaling pathway. (Poster) UTHSCSA Integrated Multidisciplinary Graduate Program Recruitment Poster Session (2008) and UTHSCSA Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium, San Antonio, TX (2007).
    15. Martinez AA, Ahmed TF, Pearson DW, Trevino S, Fisher A, Siddiqui M, Clark RA and Imam S. Over-expression of alpha-synuclein activates c-Abl in SH-SY5Y cells: A possible role in the development of Parkinson's disease. (Poster) UTHSCA Department of Medicine Research Day, San Antonio, TX (2007).
    16. Martinez AA,Cheng B, Acosta Y and Roberts JL. Neuroprotective effect of retinoic acid on proteasome inhibition-induced cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. (Poster) UTHSCSA Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium, San Antonio, TX (2006).
    17. Martinez AA, Cheng B, Acosta Y and Roberts JL. Neuroprotective effect of IGF-1 on proteasome inhibition-induced cytotoxicity in SH-SY5Y cells. (Poster) Center for Biomedical Neuroscience Annual Retreat, San Antonio, TX (2006).
    18. Martinez AA, Cheng B, Ramirez J, Acosta Y and Roberts JL. Cell toxicity induced by proteasome inhibition and possible protection against apoptosis. (Poster) UTHSCSA Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium, San Antonio, TX (2005).
    19. Martinez AA, Bains M, Acosta Y, Cheng B and Roberts JL. Oxidative stress and changes in signal transduction pathways. (Poster) Center for Biomedical Neuroscience Annual Retreat, San Antonio, TX (2005).