University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Cancer Center

Bio for Mercedes Rincon
Mercedes Rincon

Mercedes Rincon

Professor of Medicine, Immunobiology Medicine
Department of Medicine


Contact Information
E-mail: Mercedes.Rincon@uvm.edu
Office Location:
Given D305, Burlington, VT 05405, USA

Website

Rincon Lab

Education

1986 B.S/M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid (Spain).
1990 Ph.D. in Immunology. Thesis entitled "Study of the role of cAMP in human T cell activation". Immunology Department, Hospital de la Princesa, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. Madrid (Spain).

Research Interests

Current Research Interests
Dr. Rincon’s research interests cover a broad spectrum of scientific areas.

1. The role of IL-6 in the immune response and diseases. Dr. Rincon is one of the leaders studying the role of IL-6 in CD4 T cell differentiation and cytokine production (since 1996) and has provided a number of important contributions. Her group has shown the role of IL-6 in Th2 and Th1 differentiation, and more recently on IL-21 production by CD4 T cells, and its implication on antibody production on B cells. Dr. Rincon’s studies on IL-6 expand from in vitro in primary mouse and human CD4 T cells to in vivo mouse models (e.g. IL-6 in influenza virus vaccines and infection, IL-6 on allergic airway inflammation) and further to bench site (IL-6 in asthmatic patients and IL-6 on rheumatoid arthritis patients).

2. The role of p38 MAPK in thymocyte development and T cell activation/death. Dr. Rincon is a pioneer studying the role of the p38 MAP kinase signaling pathway in CD4 T cell differentiation, CD8 T cell death, and more recently its “non-classical” functions in early thymocyte development. She interested on the role of p38 MAPK in the induction of G2/M cell cycle checkpoint in immature developing thymocytes. In addition, recent studies on p38 MAPK in thmocytes have led her to identify a novel mechanism by which p38 MAPK can mediate cell survival (an unconventional function of this pathway) through the regulation of GSK3?. Her group is actively dissecting when p38 MAPK provides survival and what are the mechanisms.

3. Mechanism of chemoresistance in breast cancer. Another independent area of interest for Dr. Rincon is breast cancer and chemotherapy response. Her initial studies on the role of IL-6 in regulating breast cancer cell response to chemotherapy have been followed by studies on a novel molecule, MCJ/DnaJC15 cochaperone, also in breast cancer chemotherapy response. Her studies in breast cancer go from in vitro molecular analysis, to in vivo mouse models of mammary cancer and human breast cancer patients. Dr. Rincon’s interests are not only on molecular mechanisms, but moving bench work to clinical translational research in the breast cancer area.

Academic Appointments

1995-1996 Associate Research Scientist, Laboratory of Dr. Richard A. Flavell, Section of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.

1996-2002 Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Immunobiology Program, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT.

2002-present Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Immunobiology Program University of Vermont.

1996-2002 Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Immunobiology Program, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT.

2002-2009 Associate Professor with tenure, Department of Medicine, Immunobiology Program University of Vermont.

2009-present Professor, Department of Medicine, Immunobiology Program, University of Vermont.

1996-present Director of the Transgenic/Knockout Mouse Facility, University of Vermont.

1997-present Faculty Member of the Vermont Cancer Center

1997-present  Faculty Member of the Environmental Pathology, Cancer Biology, Lung Biology and Immunobiog&Infectious Disease Training Grants

1997-present Faculty Member of the Cellular Molecular Biology Graduate Program

2000-present  Faculty Member of the Vermont Lung Center.

2003-present Faculty Member of the Lung Biology Training Grant.

2006-present Faculty Member of the Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases (VCIID)

2005-present  Faculty Member of the Immunology Training grant

2010-present Adjunct Faculty Member, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Department.

Research Grants

R29 (Mercedes Rincón, PI) 6/01/98-5/31/02 NIH $ 75,000 (direct costs) Signaling Pathways Involved in Thymic T cell Development. The major goal is to determine the regulation and the role of AP-1 and NFAT transcription factors and JNK and p38 MAP kinase signaling pathways during thymocyte development. factors

Biomedical Science Grant (Mercedes Rincón, PI) 7/01/98-6/30/01 Arthritis Foundation $ 80,000 (direct costs)p38 MAP kinase pathway in Th1 response and arthritisThe major goal is to determine the role of the p38 MAP kinase pathway in the differentiation and activation of naive CD4+ Th1 and Th2 cells and the relevance of this intracellular mechanism in the progression of arthritis.

Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation 1/1/99-12/31/02 (Mercedes Rincón, PI) $51,901 (direct cost) Role of IL-6 on tumor multidrug resistance and anti-tumor immune responses The major goal of this work is to determine the role of IL-6 in the resistance of tumor cells to cell death induce by drugs and the role in the modulation of the anti-tumor immune response. In addition, we are examing the correlation between IL-6 expression in tumor cells from breast, ovarian and prostate cancer patients and their response to chemotherapy.

RO1 (Brooke T. Mossman, PI) 9/1/97-8/31/02 NIH $186,633 EGFR Signaling Pathways by Particulates in Lung DiseaseThe major goal of this proposal is to determine whether the activation of EGFR by pathogenic dusts in the environment is causally related to cell signaling by ERKs, epithelial and mesothelial cell apoptosis and/or repair, and the development of lung disease.

2R01 (Brooke T. Mossman, PI) 12/1/97-11/30/01 NIH $ 159,392 Molecular Signaling by Oxidant Stress in Lung Epithelium. The major goals of this work is to detrmine whether asbestos and silica activate the MAPK cascade by oxidant-dependent mechanisms and whether transgenic mice with mutant ERK develop fibrosis to the same extent as transgene-negative littermates.

Marsden Fund (Graham Le Gros, PI) 1/1/99-12/31/01 Genetic Programming of T cell differentiation $167,990The major goal of this proposal is to determine the regulation of AP-1 and MAP kinases in vivo in immune responses against nematode parasites, flu virus and mycobacteria bovis.

PPG (Program Director, Ralph Budd) Project PI, Mercedes Rincón 1/1/00-12/31/03 NIH $132,420 (Project direct costs) Role of NFAT in naïve, effector and memory Th1 and Th2 cells. The major goal of this work is to determine how NFAT is regulated and what is the function on activation of naïve, effector and memory CD4+ T cells.

Biomedical Science Grant (Mercedes Rincón, PI) 7/01/01-6/30/04 Arthritis Foundation $ 90,000 (direct costs)p38 MAP kinase pathway in CD4+ and CD8+ T cell response and arthritisThe major goal is to determine how of the p38 MAP kinase regulates the production of IFNg and death in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and how these functions influence the progression of arthritis.

R01 (M.Rincón, PI) 10/1/01-9/30/05 NIH $ 250,000 (direct costs) Lung epithelium-derived IL6 in CD4+ T cell immune response The major goal of this project is to determine the role of IL-6 produced by lung epithelium cells in the differentiation of CD4+ T cells into effector Th1 and Th2 cells.

R21 AI51453-01 Rincon (PI) 5/1/02 - 4/31/03 NIH $200,000 ADCp38 and p53 in thymocyte devleopmentThe major goal is to determine the how p38 MAP kinase regulates p53 activation and cell cycle check point during thymocyte development.

R01 AI51453-01 Rincon (PI) 5/01/03 - 4/30/07 NIH $250,000 ADC p38 and p53 in thymocyte devleopment The major goal is to determine the how p38 MAP kinase regulates p53 activation and cell cycle check point during thymocyte development

R01NIH (Gerald Davis, PI) 6/1/00-5/31/05 Mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis caused by silica $225,000 (direct costs)The major goal of this work is to determine the role of TNFa and IL-1 in the development of silicosis.

RR-00-003. Centers for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), Program Director: Dr. Charles Irvin National Center for Research Resources, NIH Transgenic Animal Core PI: Mercedes Rincón, PhD $189,988 (direct cost) Translational Research in Lung Biology and Disease The major goals of this project is to develop new genetically mouse models in our Transgenic Mouse facility, including the establishment of embryonic stem cell cultures and the generation of knock out mice.

PPG NIH (Program PI: Brooke Mossman, PhD) Transgenic/Inhalation Core PI, Mercedes Rincón, PhD 06/1/01-06/01/05 Signaling in epithelial injury, proliferation and fibrosis $170,334 (direct cost).

PPG Program Project Program Director: Dr. Ralph Budd Project Principal Investigator: Mercedes Rincón, Ph.D. 25% Direct Cost: $333,386 IL-6 and NFAT in naïve and memory Th1 and Th2 cells Agency: National Institutes of Health Type: Program Project Grant Period: 12/01/03-11/30/08 The major goal is to determine the regulation of NFAT by IL-6 in naïve and memory CD4+ T cells and the role of NFAT transcription factor in memory immune responses

Awards and Honors

Collaboration Fellowship, Spanish Department of Education and Science, Spain (1984-1986)
PhD Training Fellowship, Spanish Department of Education and Science, Spain (1986-1991)
Short Term Exchange Fellowship, Spanish Department of Education and Science, Spain (1989)
Postdoctoral Fellowship for Overseas Training, Spanish Department of Education and Science, Spain (1991-1993)
University of Vermont College of Medicine Faculty Development Award (1998-2000)

Publications

Neveu WA, Allard JL, Raymond DM, Bourassa LM, Burns SM, Bunn JY, Irvin CG, Kaminsky DA, Rincon, M. (2010) Elevation of IL-6 in the allergic asthmatic airways is independent of inflammation but associates with loss of central airway function. Respir. Res. 11, 28-38.

Thornton, T.M. and Rincon, M. (2009) “Non-classical p38 MAP kinase functions: cell cycle checkpoints and survival”. Int. J. Biol. Sci. 5, 44-55

Neveu, W.A., Allard, J.B., Dienz, O., Wargo, M.J., Ciliberto, G., Whittaker, L. and Rincon, M. (2009) “IL-6 is required for airway mucus production induced by inhaled fungal allergens” J. Immunol. 183, 1732-1738.

Rincon, M. and Davis, R.J. (2009) “ Regulation of the immune response by stress-activated protein kinases”. Immunological Reviews. 228, 212-224

Dienz, O. and Rincon, M. (2009) “The effects of IL-6 on CD4 T cell responses” Clinical Immunol. 130, 27-33.
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