Research

Armando Mendez, PhD

My long term research interests has been in lipid metabolism and lipoprotein abnormalities that lead to cardiovascular disease (CAD) and that occur as a consequence of cardiometabolic disorders including diabetes. Our studies initially focused on cellular lipid transport with emphasis on reverse cholesterol transport and the intracellular trafficking of cholesterol from sites of accumulation to sites available for removal (efflux) by high density lipoproteins (HDL) and other extracellular acceptors. My laboratory continues to study the role of HDL in promoting lipid efflux and other HDL functions as potential contributors to and biomarkers of CAD risk and prediction. Ongoing research studies atherosclerosis in mouse and rabbit models of disease with studies aimed to elucidate mechanisms by which psycho/social stress accelerates disease progression. Other ongoing studies include evaluating metabolic regulation in the context of obesity and adipose tissue inflammation and evaluating anti-inflammatory drugs and compounds in preclinical models of diabetes and obesity. These latter studies are aimed at identifying novel therapies that may improve glycemic control, modulate systemic inflammation and ameliorate the CAD comorbidities associated with diabetes.
I also have a long term interest in human biomarkers as predictors of disease in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies with emphasis on cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. I am or have been involved is several large clinical research projects including the Hispanic Community Health Study, The National Children’s Study, the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study (PHACS). In collaborations with my clinical colleagues, and following a broader team science approach, I have participated in multiple studies aimed at identifying associations of CAD and lipid-lipoprotein and other biomarker risk factors with a variety of disease states including diabetes and obesity, renal dysfunction, psycho-social stress and human immunodeficiency virus infection, and spinal cord injury. I am also the Director of the Diabetes Research Institute Biomarker and Immunoassay Core Laboratory that conducts testing related to various aspects of metabolism and endocrinology including diabetes, dyslipidemia, obesity and inflammation. The core lab has allowed me to interact with researchers in many fields of investigation and these interactions have resulted in several long term collaborations in which my role has been to bridge clinical observations and patient specimens with laboratory analysis and mechanistic investigations.

Recent Publications:

  1. Garcia-Contreras M, Shah SH, Tamayo A, Robbins PD, Golberg RB, Mendez AJ, Ricordi C. Plasma-derived exosome characterization reveals a distinct microRNA signature in long duration Type 1 diabetes. Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 20;7(1):5998.
  2. Frej C, Mendez AJ, Ruiz M, Castillo M, Hughes TA, Dahlbäck B, Goldberg RB. A Shift in ApoM/S1P Between HDL-Particles in Women With Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Is Associated With Impaired Anti-Inflammatory Effects of the ApoM/S1P Complex. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2017 37(6):1194-1205
  3. Bigford GE, Mendez AJ, Betancourt L, Burns-Drecq P, Backus D, Nash MS. A lifestyle intervention program for successfully addressing major cardiometabolic risks in persons with SCI: a three-subject case series. Spinal Cord Ser Cases. 2017 Mar 16;3:17007.
  4. Szeto A, Sun-Suslow N, Mendez AJ, Hernandez RI, Wagner KV, McCabe PM. Regulation of the Macrophage Oxytocin Receptor in Response to Inflammation. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2017;312(3):E183-E189:
  5. Squitti R, Mendez AJ, Simonelli I, Ricordi C. Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease: Can Elevated Free Copper Predict the Risk of the Disease? J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;56(3):1055-1064.
  6. Noller CM, Mendez AJ, Szeto A, Boulina M, Llabre MM, Zaias J, Schneiderman N, McCabe PM. Structural Remodeling of Sympathetic Innervation in Atherosclerotic Blood Vessels: Role of Atherosclerotic Disease Progression and Chronic Social Stress. Psychosom Med. 2017 Jan;79(1):59-70.