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Valerie Wojna

Faculty RankProfessor
InstitutionUniversity of Puerto Rico
DepartmentSchool of Medicine
AddressUPR-Medical Sciences Campus, School of Medicine
San Juan PR 936
Phone7877582525 ext 2819
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0002-4014-9921 Additional info
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, PRBS06/1980Math
    University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine, San Juan, PRMD06/1984MD
    University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine, San Juan, PR06/1988Neurology
    University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine, San Juan, PR06/1990Clinical Neurophysiology
    American Academy Neurology, Park City, Utah08/2008Translational Investigation
    NIH NIMHD , Bethesda, MD08/2013Translational Health Disparity Course
    UCSF, San Francisco, Ca07/2015Mentorin the Mentors for HIV Researchers Workshop
    SACNAS, Washington, DC07/2015Summer Leadership Institute
    University of Michigan, MI2020NINDS Clinical Trials Methodology Course
    Collapse awards and honors
    2004 - 2011Pathophysiology of HIV Dementia, NINDS
    2009Chairperson, Research Committee, Neurology Division, UPR
    2011Alpha Omega Alpha
    2011 - 2014Soluble Insulin Receptor Dysfunction Correlates with HAND in HIV+ Women on CART, R21 award from NIMH
    2012Editor-in-Chief, Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal, UPR
    2012Editor-in-Chief, Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal , University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus
    2014Academic Senate, UPR
    2014Core Leader, Pilot Projects Program, Puerto Rico Clinical and Translational Research Consortium, UPR
    2015Member Steering Committee , RTRN
    2016 - 2019Exosome-mediated soluble insulin receptor secretion correlates with HAND, R01 award from NINDS
    2016Member, Neurology Collaborative Group, AIDS Clinical Trial Group
    2017Associate Editor , Journal NeuroVirology
    2017Member, Board of Directors, Molecular Sciences Research Center, UPR

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview
    I have been fortunate to work with my patients as a neurologist and as a clinical researcher. My clinical experience and personal commitment to help ameliorate health disparities, has led to me to the study of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). I have been the PI of the Hispanic/Latino Longitudinal NeuroAIDS women cohort for the evaluation of HAND as part of the NeuroAIDS Specialized Neuroscience Research Program (SNRP). My areas of research experience address the impact of sex hormones, insulin resistance, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and biomarkers on cognitive performance among HIV positive cisgender women. Recent scientific literature has evidenced that the chronic infection and increase survival of HIV-seropositive patients is associated with increase co-morbidities such as stroke, metabolic syndrome, and cancer. Since 2011 we have been studying the effect of insulin resistance and neurocognitive performance in patients with HIV infection. Since than we have obtained a R21 (R21MH095524) and a R01 (R01NS099036) to study further the mechanisms involved in the secretion of the insulin receptor and its effect on cellular insulin resistance and neurocognitive impairment. Our preliminary data shows that HIV tat alters the cellular splicing factors facilitating the release of the insulin receptor extracellularly. Since this receptor is functional (binds to insulin) it facilitates de development of cellular insulin resistance as determined by altered IRS-1 phosphorylation. We believe that the secretion of the soluble insulin receptor and its effects precipitates a continuous cellular (and neuronal) insulin resistance that eventually will synergize with other HIV pathological mechanisms such as chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and neurotoxic effects of virotoxins with residual neuronal injury and cognitive impairment. At present I am enrolled in the NINDS R25 Clinical Trials Methodology Course where will like to develop a clinical trial with approved medications that affects splicing factors (i.e. resveratrol) and improves insulin resistance (i.e. intranasal insulin). Other areas of interest include neurodegenerative disorders, multiple sclerosis, and HIV-associated sleep disorders.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse research activities and funding
    S11NS046278     (WOJNA, VALERIE)Jul 1, 2004 - Jun 30, 2010
    Pathophysiology of HIV Dementia in Women
    Role: Principal Investigator

    R21MH095524     (WOJNA, VALERIE)Jul 1, 2011 - Apr 30, 2014
    Soluble Insulin Receptor Dysfunction Correlates with HAND in HIV+ women on CART
    Role: Principal Investigator

    R01NS099036     (WOJNA, VALERIE)Apr 1, 2016 - Mar 31, 2022
    Exosome-mediated soluble insulin receptor secretion correlates with HAND
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
    Newest   |   Oldest   |   Most Cited   |   Most Discussed   |   Timeline   |   Field Summary   |   Plain Text
    PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Ramírez-Marrero FA, Pérez-Frontera S, Amalbert-Birriel MA, Matos M, Santana-Bagur J, Frontera WR, Wojna V. Brief Report: Effects of Low-Volume High-Intensity Interval Training in Hispanic HIV+ Women: A Nonrandomized Study. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2020 07 01; 84(3):285-289. PMID: 32530906.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    2. González-Feliciano JA, Akamine P, Capó-Vélez CM, Delgado-Vélez M, Dussupt V, Krebs SJ, Wojna V, Polonis VR, Baerga-Ortiz A, Lasalde-Dominicci JA. A recombinant gp145 Env glycoprotein from HIV-1 expressed in two different cell lines: Effects on glycosylation and antigenicity. PLoS One. 2020; 15(6):e0231679. PMID: 32559193.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    3. Ramírez-Marrero FA, Pérez-Frontera S, Amalbert-Birriel MA, Matos M, Santana-Bagur J, Frontera WR, Wojna V. Effects of low volume high intensity interval training in Hispanic HIV+ Women: a non-randomized study. . 2020 Mar 20. PMID: 32205718.
    4. Gerena Y, Menéndez-Delmestre R, Delgado-Nieves A, Vélez J, Méndez-Álvarez J, Sierra-Pagan JE, Skolasky RL, Henderson L, Nath A, Wojna V. Release of Soluble Insulin Receptor From Neurons by Cerebrospinal Fluid From Patients With Neurocognitive Dysfunction and HIV Infection. Front Neurol. 2019; 10:285. PMID: 30972014.
    5. Wojna V. ZIKA VIRUS - The Puerto Rican Experience. P R Health Sci J. 2018 12; 37(Spec Issue):S3-S4. PMID: 30576571.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
    6. Oda R, Shiramizu B, Agsalda-Garcia M, Kettlewell J, Wojna V. In Vitro Blood-Brain Barrier Modeling adapted for Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Transmigration from HIV-Positive Patients for Clinical Research on Therapeutic Drug Intervention. P R Health Sci J. 2018 09; 37(3):155-159. PMID: 30188559.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    7. Cantres-Rosario YM, Acevedo-Mariani FM, Pérez-Laspiur J, Haskins WE, Plaud M, Cantres-Rosario YM, Skolasky R, Méndez-Bermúdez I, Wojna V, Meléndez LM. Microwave & magnetic proteomics of macrophages from patients with HIV-associated cognitive impairment. PLoS One. 2017; 12(7):e0181779. PMID: 28746408.
      Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    8. Jimenez-Torres GJ, Wojna V, Rosario E, Hechevarría R, Alemán-Batista AM, Matos MR, Madan A, Skolasky RL, Acevedo SF. Assessing health-related resiliency in HIV+ Latin women: Preliminary psychometric findings. PLoS One. 2017; 12(7):e0181253. PMID: 28723939.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    9. Salinas JL, Major CG, Pastula DM, Dirlikov E, Styczynski A, Luciano CA, Wojna V, Sharp TM, Sejvar JJ, Rivera-Garcia B. Incidence and clinical characteristics of Guillain-Barré syndrome before the introduction of Zika virus in Puerto Rico. J Neurol Sci. 2017 Jun 15; 377:102-106. PMID: 28477675.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
    10. Joseph J, Cinque P, Colosi D, Dravid A, Ene L, Fox H, Gabuzda D, Gisslen M, Beth Joseph S, Letendre S, Mukerji SS, Nath A, Perez-Valero I, Persaud D, Price RW, Rao VR, Sacktor N, Swanstrom R, Winston A, Wojna V, Wright E, Spudich S. Highlights of the Global HIV-1 CSF Escape Consortium Meeting, 9 June 2016, Bethesda, MD, USA. J Virus Erad. 2016 Oct 05; 2(4):243-250. PMID: 27781109.
    11. Delgado-Vélez M, Báez-Pagán CA, Gerena Y, Quesada O, Santiago-Pérez LI, Capó-Vélez CM, Wojna V, Meléndez L, León-Rivera R, Silva W, Lasalde-Dominicci JA. The a7-nicotinic receptor is upregulated in immune cells from HIV-seropositive women: consequences to the cholinergic anti-inflammatory response. Clin Transl Immunology. 2015 Dec; 4(12):e53. PMID: 26719799.
    12. Wojna V. The PRHSJ goes Green: What does it Mean? P R Health Sci J. 2015 Dec; 34(4):181. PMID: 26710363.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    13. Colon K, Perez-Laspiur J, Quiles R, Rodriguez Y, Wojna V, Shaffer SA, Leszyk J, Skolasky RL, Melendez LM. Macrophage secretome from women with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Proteomics Clin Appl. 2016 Feb; 10(2):136-43. PMID: 26220577.
      Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    14. Colón K, Vázquez-Santiago F, Rivera-Amill V, Delgado G, Massey SE, Wojna V, Noel RJ, Meléndez LM. HIV gp120 sequence variability associated with HAND in Hispanic Women. J Virol Antivir Res. 2015; 4(3). PMID: 27358904.
    15. Gerena Y, Menéndez-Delmestre R, Skolasky RL, Hechavarria RM, Pérez S, Hilera C, González C, Nath A, Wojna V. Soluble insulin receptor as a source of insulin resistance and cognitive impairment in HIV-seropositive women. J Neurovirol. 2015 Apr; 21(2):113-9. PMID: 25604495.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    16. Vázquez-Santiago F, García Y, Rivera-Román I, Noel RJ, Wojna V, Meléndez LM, Rivera-Amill V. Longitudinal Analysis of Cerebrospinal Fluid and Plasma HIV-1 Envelope Sequences Isolated From a Single Donor with HIV Asymptomatic Neurocognitive Impairment. J Virol Antivir Res. 2015; 4(1). PMID: 26167513.
    17. Victorson D, Cavazos JE, Holmes GL, Reder AT, Wojna V, Nowinski C, Miller D, Buono S, Mueller A, Moy C, Cella D. Validity of the Neurology Quality-of-Life (Neuro-QoL) measurement system in adult epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2014 Feb; 31:77-84. PMID: 24361767.
      Citations: 18     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    18. Agsalda-Garcia M, Shiramizu B, Melendez L, Plaud M, Liang CY, Wojna V. Different levels of HIV DNA copy numbers in cerebrospinal fluid cellular subsets. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2013 Nov; 24(4 Suppl):8-16. PMID: 24241256.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    19. Bandaru VV, Mielke MM, Sacktor N, McArthur JC, Grant I, Letendre S, Chang L, Wojna V, Pardo C, Calabresi P, Munsaka S, Haughey NJ. A lipid storage-like disorder contributes to cognitive decline in HIV-infected subjects. Neurology. 2013 Oct 22; 81(17):1492-9. PMID: 24027056.
      Citations: 42     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    20. Morales D, Hechavarria R, Wojna V, Acevedo SF. YWHAE/14-3-3e: a potential novel genetic risk factor and CSF biomarker for HIV neurocognitive impairment. J Neurovirol. 2013 Oct; 19(5):471-8. PMID: 23982958.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    21. Cantres-Rosario Y, Plaud-Valentín M, Gerena Y, Skolasky RL, Wojna V, Meléndez LM. Cathepsin B and cystatin B in HIV-seropositive women are associated with infection and HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders. AIDS. 2013 Jan 28; 27(3):347-56. PMID: 23291538.
      Citations: 18     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    22. Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder: a consensus report of the mind exchange program. Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Apr; 56(7):1004-17. PMID: 23175555.
      Citations: 93     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    23. Morales D, Acevedo SF, Skolasky RL, Hechavarria R, Santiago S, De La Torre T, Maldonado E, Wojna V. Translational spatial task and its relationship to HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders and apolipoprotein E in HIV-seropositive women. J Neurovirol. 2012 Dec; 18(6):488-502. PMID: 22972599.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    24. Gerena Y, Skolasky RL, Velez JM, Toro-Nieves D, Mayo R, Nath A, Wojna V. Soluble and cell-associated insulin receptor dysfunction correlates with severity of HAND in HIV-infected women. PLoS One. 2012; 7(5):e37358. PMID: 22629383.
      Citations: 10     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    25. Cella D, Lai JS, Nowinski CJ, Victorson D, Peterman A, Miller D, Bethoux F, Heinemann A, Rubin S, Cavazos JE, Reder AT, Sufit R, Simuni T, Holmes GL, Siderowf A, Wojna V, Bode R, McKinney N, Podrabsky T, Wortman K, Choi S, Gershon R, Rothrock N, Moy C. Neuro-QOL: brief measures of health-related quality of life for clinical research in neurology. Neurology. 2012 Jun 05; 78(23):1860-7. PMID: 22573626.
      Citations: 184     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    26. Kraft-Terry S, Gerena Y, Wojna V, Plaud-Valentin M, Rodriguez Y, Ciborowski P, Mayo R, Skolasky R, Gendelman HE, Meléndez LM. Proteomic analyses of monocytes obtained from Hispanic women with HIV-associated dementia show depressed antioxidants. Proteomics Clin Appl. 2010 Sep; 4(8-9):706-14. PMID: 21137088.
      Citations: 18     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    27. Oquendo-Jiménez I, Mena R, Antoun MD, Wojna V. Linguistic adaptation of the clinical dementia rating scale for a Spanish-speaking population: a focus group approach. P R Health Sci J. 2010 Jun; 29(2):102-8. PMID: 20496524.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    28. Brown A, Shiramizu B, Nath A, Wojna V. Translational research in NeuroAIDS: a neuroimmune pharmacology-related course. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2011 Mar; 6(1):80-8. PMID: 20496178.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    29. Hidalgo MB, Rodríguez E, Wojna V. Atypical presentation of basilar artery thrombosis due to hypercoagulable state and incidental patent foramen ovale: a case report. Bol Asoc Med P R. 2010 Apr-Jun; 102(2):54-7. PMID: 20939207.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    30. Velázquez I, Plaud M, Wojna V, Skolasky R, Laspiur JP, Meléndez LM. Antioxidant enzyme dysfunction in monocytes and CSF of Hispanic women with HIV-associated cognitive impairment. J Neuroimmunol. 2009 Jan 03; 206(1-2):106-11. PMID: 19101040.
      Citations: 28     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    31. Wojna V, Robles L, Skolasky RL, Mayo R, Selnes O, de la Torre T, Maldonado E, Nath A, Meléndez LM, Lasalde-Dominicci J. Associations of cigarette smoking with viral immune and cognitive function in human immunodeficiency virus-seropositive women. J Neurovirol. 2007 Dec; 13(6):561-8. PMID: 18097887.
      Citations: 32     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    32. Wojna V, Skolasky RL, McArthur JC, Maldonado E, Hechavarria R, Mayo R, Selnes O, Ginebra T, de la Torre T, Garcia H, Kraiselburd E, Melendez-Guerrero LM, Zorrilla CD, Nath A. Spanish validation of the HIV dementia scale in women. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2007 Dec; 21(12):930-41. PMID: 18154490.
      Citations: 14     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    33. Laspiur JP, Anderson ER, Ciborowski P, Wojna V, Rozek W, Duan F, Mayo R, Rodríguez E, Plaud-Valentín M, Rodríguez-Orengo J, Gendelman HE, Meléndez LM. CSF proteomic fingerprints for HIV-associated cognitive impairment. J Neuroimmunol. 2007 Dec; 192(1-2):157-70. PMID: 17950469.
      Citations: 39     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    34. Rozek W, Ricardo-Dukelow M, Holloway S, Gendelman HE, Wojna V, Melendez LM, Ciborowski P. Cerebrospinal fluid proteomic profiling of HIV-1-infected patients with cognitive impairment. J Proteome Res. 2007 Nov; 6(11):4189-99. PMID: 17929958.
      Citations: 56     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    35. Antinori A, Arendt G, Becker JT, Brew BJ, Byrd DA, Cherner M, Clifford DB, Cinque P, Epstein LG, Goodkin K, Gisslen M, Grant I, Heaton RK, Joseph J, Marder K, Marra CM, McArthur JC, Nunn M, Price RW, Pulliam L, Robertson KR, Sacktor N, Valcour V, Wojna VE. Updated research nosology for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Neurology. 2007 Oct 30; 69(18):1789-99. PMID: 17914061.
      Citations: 1310     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    36. Nieves DM, Plaud M, Wojna V, Skolasky R, Meléndez LM. Characterization of peripheral blood human immunodeficiency virus isolates from Hispanic women with cognitive impairment. J Neurovirol. 2007 Aug; 13(4):315-27. PMID: 17849315.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    37. Wojna V, Nath A. Challenges to the diagnosis and management of HIV dementia. AIDS Read. 2006 Nov; 16(11):615-6, 621-4, 626, 629-32. PMID: 17152649.
      Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    38. Wojna V, Skolasky RL, Hechavarría R, Mayo R, Selnes O, McArthur JC, Meléndez LM, Maldonado E, Zorrilla CD, García H, Kraiselburd E, Nath A. Prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus-associated cognitive impairment in a group of Hispanic women at risk for neurological impairment. J Neurovirol. 2006 Oct; 12(5):356-64. PMID: 17065128.
      Citations: 55     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    39. Wojna V, Carlson KA, Luo X, Mayo R, Meléndez LM, Kraiselburd E, Gendelman HE. Proteomic fingerprinting of human immunodeficiency virus type 1-associated dementia from patient monocyte-derived macrophages: A case study. J Neurovirol. 2004; 10 Suppl 1:74-81. PMID: 14982743.
      Citations: 13     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    40. Turchan J, Sacktor N, Wojna V, Conant K, Nath A. Neuroprotective therapy for HIV dementia. Curr HIV Res. 2003 Oct; 1(4):373-83. PMID: 15049424.
      Citations: 13     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    41. Luo X, Carlson KA, Wojna V, Mayo R, Biskup TM, Stoner J, Anderson J, Gendelman HE, Meléndez LM. Macrophage proteomic fingerprinting predicts HIV-1-associated cognitive impairment. Neurology. 2003 Jun 24; 60(12):1931-7. PMID: 12821735.
      Citations: 24     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    42. Nath A, Hauser KF, Wojna V, Booze RM, Maragos W, Prendergast M, Cass W, Turchan JT. Molecular basis for interactions of HIV and drugs of abuse. . 2002 Oct 01; 31 Suppl 2:S62-9. PMID: 12394784.
      Citations: 145     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    43. Wojna V, Guerrero L, Guzmán J, Cotto M. Effect of flumazenil on electroencephalographic patterns induced by midazolam. P R Health Sci J. 2000 Dec; 19(4):353-6. PMID: 11293887.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
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