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Welcome to Ponce Research Institute (PRI)

Ponce Research Institute is a 501 c.3 non-profit entity that provides the research infrastructure support for an exceptional group of scientists and research staff.  Our researchers are committed to solving some of the most pressing health challenges facing Hispanic communities, in areas such as cancer, neuroscience, infectious diseases, women’s health, community based research, and e-health initiatives. PRI provides modern research facilities that foster collaborative, integrative research.  We have various ongoing collaborations within Puerto Rico, as well as with many institutions in the U.S. mainland, including a 10 year partnership with Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.  We are leaders in clinical research in southwestern Puerto Rico, and have participated in over 275 Phase 1-Phase 4 clinical trials.  Our institutional strategic plan includes additional expansion of our research team and facilities in the next five years.  In doing so, we will not only contribute to an important body of research that will serve Hispanics across the U.S., we will also bring an influx of investment and job opportunities to our community.  I encourage you to explore the Ponce Research Institute, and feel free to contact us if you need additional information.

Kenira J. Thompson, Ph.D. President, Ponce Research Institute Vice-President of Research, PHSU

Dr. Kenira Thompson obtained an MS and Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and completed postdoctoral research training at the Cajal Neuroscience Research Institute of the University of Texas San Antonio.

She has been at PHSU for 16 years, and is currently the President of the Ponce Research Institute and the Vice President of Research at PHSU. She oversees all of the research-related activities in both basic and clinical sciences at PHSU, and is the administrator of all research grants received by the institution. Dr. Thompson’s leadership focuses on developing, coordinating and stimulating multi-disciplinary research at the PHSU-PRI, in order for the institution to continue to grow as a prestigious academic and research center. She currently holds the rank of Full Professor in the Depts. of Basic Sciences, Psychiatry, and the Clinical Psychology at PHSU.

In 2017, she became the first Hispanic woman selected to a three-year term on the American Association of Medical College’s Group on Research Advancement (GRAND) Steering Committee, and more recently (2019) was named Chair-Elect for this organization. She has been very influential in recruiting key scientific talent to Puerto Rico. She is a role model to young Hispanic female scientists, and has implemented various programs to expand the pipeline of students interested in biomedical science careers.

In addition, for over three years, she has led relief efforts at PHSU post-hurricane María, as well as during the more recent earthquakes and the COVID-19 pandemic. The support, aid, and relief efforts provided thanks to her coordination, efforts, and dedication have been necessary and indispensable to help increase the reach and speed of the services provided to citizens in need during the emergency recovery process. These efforts have been recognized locally and nationally, as she continues to be an active participant in the rebuild of Puerto Rico.

Our research team is dedicated to ongoing research in the Basic, Behavioral, Public Health, and Clinical Sciences.Our mission is to make a difference by solving health disparities through groundbreaking, innovative and relevant research that has a global impact in health care.

Research Areas

Discover research activities, initiatives, and projects.

  • Neurosciences Division
  • Cancer Biology Division
  • Women’s Health Division
  • Mental Health Division
  • Infection Diseases Division
  • Community Outreach Division
  • Clinical Trial Division
  • Health Informatics Division
  • Health Disparities Division

Clinical Research

At PHSU, we are committed towards improving patient care and therapeutic outcomes.  Our ambulatory clinical research center (CAIMED) is one of the largest clinical research centers in Southern Puerto Rico. At CAIMED we conduct clinical trials, which allow researchers to determine how safe and effective a new drug or treatment is. Our clinical studies involve patient volunteers, and allow us to improve patient care, provide access to the latest treatment options, and reduce the financial burden of health care. Clinical research aims to provide useful information that will improve the future of medicine and patient care. For more information on specific terms used in clinical research, please go to the Glossary of Terms section in

Volunteer participants are essential for clinical research to happen.  If you would like to improve medical care for future generations, or if you have a certain disease or illness; experience with a certain disease through friends or family, or have an interest in science, perhaps you could become a volunteer.

You have a choice to volunteer for a clinical study. If you agree to volunteer, our highly qualified staff will inform you on the study, and the potential risks involved. You will decide if you want to participate, and once you are in a study, you may leave it at any time.


For questions regarding Clinical studies, please call: 787-840-2505 or email


Get to know our RCMI Team! – Doris Andujar

Doris Andujar All Scientific projects are conducted by a team’s effort. If your interest relies on regulations and compliances and science, you should get to know Ms. Doris Andujar, MPH.  She is the Program Executive Manager responsible for providing administration

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Regulatory Compliance