Carmen Maldonado-Vlaar, PhD
Carmen S. Maldonado-Vlaar is a professor of neuroscience the department of biology at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus, where she been for 21 years. She has successfully mentored dozens of underrepresented minority (URM) graduate and undergraduate students. Moreover, she is an active teacher and has participated in all of the neuroscience courses offered in her department at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, she served for three years as member of the Training Advisory Committee for APA-Diversity in Neuroscience, is currently the assistant editor for Behavioral Neuroscience, and, for the last five years, she has been The Leadership Alliance institution coordinator at her institution. For five years, she also served as chair of the biology department. Since 2010, she took a leadership role in establishing a campus-wide undergraduate multidisciplinary research office funded by a Title V grant from the Department of Education. In December 2017, she was appointed as dean of the graduate school and research at her institution. She also currently is a co-PI and scientific mentor of the NeuroID program funded by the NIGMS-ENDURE division aimed at training undergraduate students from different academic institutions in Puerto Rico in the field of neuroscience. More than 50 Puerto Rican undergraduate students that have obtained research experience in her laboratory have continued their graduate training at medical schools or in PhD or MD/PhD neuroscience programs in Puerto Rico and abroad. She has also successfully graduated five PhD and three MS students in the field of behavioral neuropharmacology. Maldonado-Vlaar's scientific agenda is based on an ongoing interest to characterize and discover potential therapeutic cellular targets that could be used in cocaine addiction treatment. She has combined molecular, behavioral, and neuroanatomical approaches in a multidisciplinary strategy to study the neurobiology of cocaine addiction. Using cocaine conditioning protocols and the intravenous cocaine self-administration (SA) paradigm as methodological tools, her laboratory investigated the role of several neurochemical and molecular substrates implicated in cocaine dependence. Maldonado-Vlaar earned her BS in biology and psychology from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras and PhD in psychology/neuroscience from Northeastern University. She completed postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute.