Kenira Thompson, PHD

Vice President for Research,
Professor of Physiology,
Site Lead

Ponce Health Sciences University

Dr. Kenira Thompson obtained a BS Degree from Interamerican Univ.-San Germán, a MS and Ph,D. in Behavioral Neuroscience at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She completed postdoctoral training in the Cajal Neuroscience Research Institute of the Univ. of Texas-San Antonio. She joined the faculty of the Ponce School of Medicine (PSM) in 2005. During her academic career at PSM she has held important roles such as Dean of Research, Chair of the Basic Sciences Curriculum Committee for the Medical Education Program, and Associate Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Core Facility. She serves as co-PD for the Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical and Translational Research. In addition, she sits on various external advisory boards including: Hispanics in Research Capability Partnership (Univ. of PR, SOM), the Public Health Institute of Puerto Rico, the Neuro-ID Graduate Training Research Program, (Univ. of PR-Rio Piedras), the Frontiers in Stem Cells in Cancer Course (Magee Women’s Research Institute, Univ. of Pittsburgh SOM), the Hispanics-IN-Research Capability Endowment (HiREC) (UPR-Medical Sciences Campus), and the Post-doctoral Master of Science in Hispanic Clinical and Translational Research Education and Career Development Program.

She played a pivotal role in the development of the Puerto Rico Consortium for Clinical Investigation which was developed by the Puerto Rico Science, Research, and Technology Trust to expand the clinical trial capabilities in Puerto Rico. In 2017, she was the first Hispanic woman selected to a three-year term on the American Association of Medical College’s Group on Research Advancement Steering Committee. She currently holds the rank of Professor in the Depts. of Basic Sciences, Psychiatry, and the Clinical Psychology at Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU). Currently,Dr. Thompson is the VP of Research at PHSU, and the President of the Ponce Research Institute. She played a role in increasing the number of R01 investigators in Puerto Rico by 20{c6fd506acc181a16c5a37b5708f8e99788afa4f122797c1bb3b5a18a904cd229} in 2015, and has been very influential in recruiting key scientific talent to Puerto Rico. She serves as a role model to young Hispanic female scientists, and has implemented various programs to expand the pipeline of students interested in biomedical science careers. Dr. Thompson is focused on developing, coordinating and stimulating collaborative research in PR, and is recognized for her leadership style based on mutual respect, collegiality, enhanced communication, with well-defined levels of accountability. Following hurricane María on September 2017, Dr. Thompson became a leader in relief efforts for southern Puerto Rico, and to this day, continues to be involved in the rebuild of Puerto Rico.