professor Felix

Research Profile

Dr. Felix E. Rivera-Mariani,
PhD

Assistant Professor

Education and Training
B.S. in Biology | Southeastern Louisiana University | Hammond, La
Ph.D. in Microbiology | University of Puerto Rico – Medical Sciences Campus | San Juan, PR

Post-doctoral Fellowship in Environmental Health Sciences
Bloomberg School of Public Health of the Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, MD

Specializations
Science Teaching Fellow – American Society for Microbiology, Washington, DC
Data Science – Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Executive Data Science – Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Genomic Data Sciences – Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Mastering Software Development in R – Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Systems Biology – Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, New York, NY
Bioinformatics – University of California at San Diego

Teaching Interests
Dr. Rivera-Mariani teaching interests include various courses, such as Biochemistry, Immunology, Medical Microbiology, and Molecular Genetics. In his teaching, Dr. Rivera-Mariani employs active and evidence-based learning approaches complemented with technological methodologies.

Scholarly Interests
Dr. Rivera-Mariani’s research goals are directed towards developing and implementing human-based immunological approaches that can provide physiologically-relevant information (i.e. protein and gene profiles) from human exposures to airborne pollutants of different chemical origins. Dr. Rivera-Mariani interphases his expertise in immunology, aerobiology, computational biology and data science to address respiratory health risks from air pollutions at different environmental settings. His research efforts have been awarded nationally and internationally at difference scientific conference, as well as being funded by the National Institute of Health and private non-profit organizations. He has also been invited to share his research findings at national and international conferences. At Larkin University, he is the Principal Investigator of the RIPL_Effect (Respiratory and Immunology Project at Larkin) Research Group (http://www.friveram.com/RIPL_Effect/). His research group was recently invited to collaborate in investigating respiratory health risks of occupants of flooded houses in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of hurricane Maria, which affected the island of Puerto Rico in the fall of 2017.

Research Foci:
Addressing the human respiratory health following exposure to airborne biological pollutants motivates my research. I have followed this line of research by merging human-based immunological approaches with aerobiology, molecular and computational biology. Following extensive postdoctoral training at the Bloomberg School of Public Health of the Johns Hopkins University, I linked epidemiology into my research to address non-experimental variables that may influence human respiratory health. This integrated approach has led to biochemically depicting previously uncharacterized potent airborne allergens endemic in the atmosphere of the Caribbean basin and highly pro-inflammatory microbial compounds of non-bacterial origins. My line of research has also found that these compounds pose a high respiratory burden among susceptible individuals, such as those with asthma, respiratory allergies, and other chronic respiratory diseases.

I am also a strong supporter of reproducibility and mentoring opportunities in science. Not only the experimental aspect but also the data analysis must be reproducible. For this reason, I employ code-based computational approaches in different computer languages (R, Python, Matlab) to extract the scientific story the data tries to communicate and thus make it available for others to replicate the data analysis pipeline. The data-driven mindset, combined with the experimental approaches, permits mentoring of students in the different epicycles of scientific research.

Publications:

  • González de Leon J, Gonález Méndez R., Cadilla Vázquez CL, Rivera-Mariani FE, Bolaños-Rosero, B. Serological Reactivity and Identification of Immunoglobulin E – Binding Proteins of Xerophilic Fungus Aspergillus penicilloides Crude Mycelial Mat Extract in Puerto Rican Atopic Subjects. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. Accepted for publication in August 2017.
  • Vila-Herester F, Rivera-Mariani FE, Bolanos-Rosero B. Serological reactivity and IgE-binding polypeptides to Ganoderma applanatum Cruse Spore Cytoplasmic Extract in Puerto Rico Subjects. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2017; 172:139–149.
  • Bose S, Rivera-Mariani FE, Chen R, Williams D, Aloe, Belli D, Breysse, PN, Diette G, Hansel N. Domestic exposure to endotoxin and respiratory morbidity in former smokers with COPD.  Indoor Air. 2016. 26(5): 734-42.
  • Vesper S, Choi H, Perzanowski P, Acosta LM, Divjan A, Bolaños-Rosero B, Rivera-Mariani FE, Chew GL. Comparison of mold populations in settled dust and dust mite allergens in mattress dust samples in the Puerto Rico Health Regions. Int J Environ Health Research. 2016. 26(2): 198-207.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Vysyaraju K, Negherbon J, Levetin E, Horner WE, Hartung T, Breysse PN. Comparison of the interleukin-1β-inducing potency of allergenic spores from higher fungi (Basidiomycetes) in a cryopreserved human whole blood system. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology. 2013. 163 (2): 154-62.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE. Cryopreserved human whole blood: a human-based in-vitro immunotoxicological system expanded into environmental health and medical mycology studies. Invited Special issue of ATLA. 2013. 41(6): 483-90.
  • Hasiwa N, Daneshian M, Bruegger P, Fennrich S, Fleck S, Hochadel A, Hoffman S, Rivera-Mariani FE, Rockel C, Schindler S, Spreitzer I, Stoppelkamp S, Vysyaraju K, Hartung T. Evidence for the detection of non-endotoxin pyrogens (NEPS) by the whole blood monocyte activation test. ALTEX, 2013. 30(2): 169-208.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Mihalic JN, Rule AM, Breysse PN. Immunodetection of airborne (1-3)-β-Dglucan-carrying particles with the Halogen immunoassay in occupational setting. J Immunol Methods. 2013. 388: 86-89.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Matsui E, Breysse PN. Performance of the Halogen Immunoassay to Assess Airborne Mouse Allergen-Containing Particles in a Laboratory Animal Facility. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. 2012. 24 (1): 3-8.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE and Bolaños-Rosero B. Allergenicity of airborne basidiospores and ascospores: need for further studies. Aerobiologia 2012: 28(2): 83-97.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Nazario-Jiménez S, López-Malpica F, and Bolaños-Rosero B. Skin Test Reactivity of Allergic Subjects to Basidiomycetes’ Crude Extracts in a Tropical Environment. Medical Mycology. 2011. 49(8): 887-91.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Nazario-Jiménez S, López-Malpica F, and Bolaños-Rosero B. Sensitization to Airborne Ascospores, Basidiospores, and Fungal Fragments by Allergic Rhinitis and Asthmatic Subjects in San Juan, Puerto Rico. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology. 2011; 155(4): 322-34.
  • Quintero E, Rivera-Mariani FE, and Bolaños-Rosero B. Analysis of Environmental Factors and Their Effects on Fungal Spores and Pollen in the Atmosphere of a Tropical Urban Area (San Juan, Puerto Rico). Aerobiologia. 2010; 26(2): 113-124.   

Science Teaching Publications

  • Rivera-Mariani, FE. RNA-seq Data Analysis Workflow to Evaluate Differential Gene Expression between Fetus and Adult Brains from Publicly-Available Data as a Genomic Data Science Demonstration in an Upper Microbiology Course. Technical Report at Researchgate.com http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.14868.09604
  • Rivera-Mariani, FE. Peer-Evaluations as an Intervention Tool to Identify Students’ Misconceptions and Interpretation Errors in the Streak-Plate Method in an Introductory Microbiology Lab Course. 2016. Technical-Report at Researchgate.com. http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.1.2693.5921
  • Rivera-Mariani FE. Rethinking our Postdoctoral Training. Postdoctoral Journal. 2012; 2 (2): 27-29.

Published Abstracts

  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Vysyaraju K, Levetin E, Hartung T, Breysse PN. Determination of the Proinflammatory Potential of Spores from Different Basidiomycetes Species with a Human Whole Blood Assay. J Immunol. 2012; 188: AB55.13. Poster Presentation. American Association of Immunologists Annual Meeting May 2012. Boston, MA.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Hartung T, Breysse PN. Evaluation of the Pro-inflammatory Activity of Basidiospores and Spore-bearing Tissue from the Mushroom Chlorophyllum molybdites using Human Whole Blood. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012; 129(2): AB18. Poster Presentation. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Annual Meeting, March, 2012. Orlando, FL.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Nazario-Jiménez S, López-Malpica F, and Bolaños-Rosero B. Prevalence of IgE Reactivities by Rhinitis and Asthmatic Patients to Airborne Particulate. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010; 125(2): AB80. Poster Presentation. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Annual Meeting, February, 2010. New Orleans, La.

Presented Abstracts

  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Levetin E, Hartung T, Breysse PN. Role of spores’ surface area and endotoxin contamination in the proinflammatory potential of spores from allergenic basidiomycete fungi in a cryopreserved human whole blood system. Gordon Research Seminar/Conference Immunology to Fungal Infections. January 2013. Galveston, TX.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Vysyaraju K , Negherbon J, Hartung T, Breysse PN, Hansel N. Assessment of the proinflammatory potential of indoor air particulate matter based on the cytokine release in a cryopreserved human whole blood system. International Society for Exposure Science Annual Meeting, October, 2012. Seattle, WA.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Mihalic JN, Rule AM, Breysse PN. Immunodetection of (1-3)-β-D-glucan with the Halogen Immunoassay. Poster Presentation. American Industrial Hygiene Association Annual Meeting, June, 2012. Indianapolis, IN. Best Poster in the Sampling and Laboratory Analysis Session.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Hartung T, Breysse PN. Evaluation of the Cooperative Proinflammatory Effect between Endotoxin and (1-3)-β-D-glucan with the in-vitro Pyrogen Test. Poster Presentation. Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting March, 2012, San Francisco, CA.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Matsui E, Breysse PN. Immunodetection of Airborne Particulate Carrying Mouse Allergen. Poster Presentation. International Society for Exposure Science Annual Meeting, October, 2011. Baltimore, MD.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Nazario-Jiménez S, López-Malpica F, and Bolaños-Rosero B. Airborne
  • Ascospores and Basidiospores as Potential Allergens for Allergic Respiratory Diseases. Oral Presentation. International Association for Aerobiology 9th International Congress on Aerobiology, August, 2010. Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Nazario-Jiménez S, and Bolaños-Rosero B. Prevalence of IgE Reactivities to Airborne Particulate by Asthmatic Subjects. Oral Presentation. Pan-American Aerobiology Association Annual Meeting, July, 2009. Kansas City, MO.
  • Rivera-Mariani FE, Quintero E, and Bolaños-Rosero B. Fungal Spore in the Atmosphere of San Juan and Caguas: A Comparative Study. Oral presentation. Pan-American Aerobiology Association Annual meeting, June, 2007. Penn State University, Stage College, PA.
  • Quintero E, Rivera-Mariani FE, and Bolaños-Rosero B. Fungal Spore and Pollen in the Atmosphere of San Juan. Poster presentation. Pan-American Aerobiology Association Annual Meeting, June 2007. Penn State University, Stage College, PA.

Invited Talks

  • University of Puerto Rico – Carolina Campus. June 2017. Workshop. Image Analysis in Biological Sciences (from Western blot to Data-Driven Decisions).
  • Math and Sciences Specialized High School Thomas Armstrong Toro. Ponce, PR. 2016 and 2017. Workshop. Doing Science: From Start to Finish.
  • 9th Annual NIH Career Symposium, Bethesda, Maryland. 2016. Teaching-Intensive Careers.
  • Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, University of Puerto Rico – Medical Sciences Campus. San Juan, February 2015. Immunological intervention to evaluate the human health effects of indoor and outdoor biological and non-biological airborne contaminants.
  • Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico – Bayamon Campus. Bayamon, PR. March 2015. Immunological intervention to evaluate the human health effects of indoor and outdoor biological and non-biological airborne contaminants.
  • Department of Microbiology, College of Medical Sciences, Nova Southeastern University, Davie, FL. August, 2013. A Review of Fungi Relevant to Dentistry.
  • National Postdoctoral Association 11th Annual Meeting. Postdoc Diversity: Solution for Faculty Diversity. Co-Presenter with Dr. Jennifer Cohen and Dr. Cara Altimus. Charleston, SC. March 2013.
  • Department of Biology of the College of Sciences and Technology, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA. October 2012. Allergenicity and proinflammatory potential of uncharacterized airborne fungi.

Awards, Honors, and Editorial Activities
2018    Collaborator – NIH Grant 1R21ES029761-01 (PI. Humberto Cavallin)
2013    Collaborator – NIH Grant 3R01ES018845-04S1 (PI. Nadia Hansel)
2013    Carl Storm Minority Travel Award – Gordon Conference, Galveston, TX
2012    Lush Young Researcher Award – Ethical Consumer Association, London, UK
2012    New Researcher Travel Award – International Society for Exposure Science
2012    Fellows-in-Training Award – American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
2011    David Leslie Swift Award – Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health
2011    Minority Access to Research Award – Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
2010    Fellows-in-Training Award – American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
2010    Young Aerobiologist Award – International Association for Aerobiology
2010 – 2014 Professional Developmental Committee – National Postdoctoral Association
2006    Ad Hoc Committee – Puerto Rico Legislature (Law of the Regional Medical Academic Centers)
2005 – 2009    President – General Student Council, UPR – Medical Science Campus
2005 – 2009    Academic Senate (Ex Officio) – UPR – Medical Science Campus

Editorial Activities
2017 – Present            Reviewer and Judge – ABRCM Annual Conference
2017 – Present            Reviewer – Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine
2015 – Present            Reviewer – Conrad Spirit Innovation Challenge
2015 – Present            Reviewer – Sigma Xi Student Research Showcase
2013                            Editor – Journal of Postdoctoral Research
2011 – Present            Reviewer – SACNAS National Conference
2011 – Present            Reviewer – Aerobiologia

Professional Membership
2017 – Present            American Association of University Professors
2012 – Present            Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
2011 – Present            American Association for Immunologists
2011 – Present            Society for Toxicology
2010 – Present            American Association for the Advancement of Science
2009 – Present            American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
2002 – Present            American Society for Microbiology

 
 
 
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