Kandy T. Velazquez, M.S., Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Kandy T. Velázquez is from Isabela, Puerto Rico.  She did her bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez. Then, she pursued her master degree in Medical Physiology at the Medical Sciences Campus-UPR under the tutelage of Dr. Juan Carlos Jorge.  For her thesis, she studied the role of 3-alpha androstanediol on hedonic, reinforcing, and anxiety-like behaviors in rats.    After receiving her PhD in Exercise Science-Applied Physiology from the University of South Carolina investigating the role of nutraceuticals on cancer cachexia under the mentorship of Dr. James A. Carson, she joined the laboratory of Dr. Angela Murphy to pursue postdoctoral training on obesity promoting cancer.  Her graduate work was funded by RISE-program (UPR-MSC), PREP-Program (USC), SLOAN Scholarship (USC), SEAGEP (USC), Diversity supplement (NIH-NCI), ASPIRE (USC), Mentor/Mentee grant (SSMN), and a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award (NIH-NCCIH).  Dr. Velázquez’s lab focuses on investigating the neuro-immune mechanism by which colorectal cancer and colitis promote visceral nociception (pain).  In addition, her lab studies the effects of an herbal formula as a new therapy to treat  pain and cachexia.  Her life outside academia is concentrated in spending quality time with friends/family and going on walks with her kids.

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EDUCATION

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Cancer Pain

Identifying the mechanism by which cancer-induced visceral pain

2013 - 2019

University of South Carolina-School of Medicine

Postdoc

High-Fat-Diet-Induced Cancer

Cancer Cachexia

Neuropathic Pain

2006 - 2012

University of South Carolina 

Ph.D. Exercise Science, Applied Physiology

2002 - 2006

University of Puerto Rico - Medical Sciences Campus 

M.S. Medical Physiology

1998 - 2002

University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez Campus

B.S. Biology

Complementary Medicine

Determine the mechanism by which complementary medicine ameliorate pain, hinder muscle wasting, and reduce cancer progression

Meet The Team

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Patrice Cunningham

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Patrice Cunningham completed her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Political Science at the University at Buffalo in New York. Through Dr. Joseph Gardella's mentorship, she conducted research exploring hydrogel's property and characterizing hydrogel as a drug delivery system that increases active protein release. While at the University, she was actively involved in the Student Organizations on campus and presided as President of the Caribbean Student Association. Currently, Patrice is conducting research at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Kandy Velazquez. During her leisure time, she enjoys going to the gym.

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Aman Sumal

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M2 Student, Research Assistant

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Emma Patton

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Emma Patton is a senior biology major from San Francisco, California. She has been working in Dr. Velázquez’s lab since October 2019.  Under the mentorship of Dr. Velázquez, Emma has been able to explore her interests in research and is excited to continue learning more about the field. She was awarded the Magellan Scholars Grant in April of 2020 which has funded research into the effects of Ojeok-san on pain-like-behaviors in a mouse model of colitis. She is currently working on finishing a report of her findings. Outside of the lab, Emma enjoys reading and hanging out with her cat.  

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Gustavo Martinez-Muniz

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Graduate Research Assistant

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Yvone Shametaj

Undergraduate Research Assistant

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Yvone is an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina in the BARSC-MD accelerated undergraduate-to-MD program. She has received a Magellan Scholars grant to conduct research on the effects of TNF-alpha, or a lack thereof, in mice with colorectal cancer. Some of her hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking, and watching Netflix.

Matthew Noneman

Undergraduate Research Assistant

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 Matt is a student at the University of South Carolina Honors College, and is currently working towards completing a B.S. in Biological Sciences. He has received support from the UofSC SURF program to conduct research in the Velázquez Lab, focusing on characterization of spontaneous pain in colorectal cancer. In his free time, Matt enjoys musical performance and playing sports.

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Nour Shams

Undergraduate Research Assistant

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Nour is an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina, and is currently working towards completing a B.S in Molecular Biology. He has received a Magellan Scholars grant to conduct research on the effects of TNF-alpha, or a lack thereof, in mice with colorectal cancer. In his free time, Nour enjoys lifting, cycling, and and hiking.