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.