Luis Martinez-Velazquez, MD, PhD
Dr. Luis Martinez-Velazquez was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He completed his undergraduate studies in biochemical sciences and economics at Harvard University. While at Harvard, he was the president of the Puerto Rican Student Organization, and co-founder of the Harvard-MIT Puerto Rican Student Caucus, an organization aimed to connect Puerto Rican student diaspora in Boston to coordinate an impact in Puerto Rico’s economic problems. After college, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Colon-Ramos at Yale University, where he studied genes involved in neuronal synapse formation in circuits important for animal behaviors. He then earned his MD and PhD in Neuroscience and Physiology from New York University (NYU).
His doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Niels Ringstad focused on how the gene Retinal Degeneration 3, which mutates to cause Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis and Retinitis Pigmentosa, affects protein transport in sensory neurons. His work has led to multiple awards including a National Eye Institute pre-doctoral fellowship, the NYU Molecular, Cellular, and Translational Neuroscience Training Grant, and the Society for Neuroscience-Neuroscience Scholars Program Award. He has also been recognized with an NYU award for Outstanding Essay in Medical Science, and a National Eye Institute-National Eye Health Education Program Hispanic/Latino Researcher Profile. Dr. Martinez-Velazquez has published in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Current Biology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, PLOS One, Genes and Development, and Ophthalmic Edge. He has presented his work at Society for Neuroscience annual conferences, Keystone Symposia, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, International C. elegans Meeting, and the C. elegans Topic Meeting in Neuronal Development.