University of Puerto Rico at Cayey RISE Program 2011 Writing assignment from PMS. Topic: Endometriosis Written by: Angélica M. González Sánchez Due to the reproductive cycle of females, woman’s uterus produces endometrial cells whichbecome a tissue that, if the woman gets pregnant, will function as a protective lining for the fertilizedegg. If this doesn’t happen, the tissue will be expulsed by menstruation. This cycle occurs by theseterms in most women and it is therefore part of their normal life. However, as in all the living systems,there are several exceptions to these rules. Some women suffer from conditions which alter theirreproductive cycle and their lifestyles as well. One of those conditions is endometriosis. This is adisease on which the endometrial cells grow and allocate as tissues in other parts of the pelvic area,rather than inside the uterus, such as in the ovaries, in the bladder, in the intestines and in other relatedorgans. This condition causes a lot of pain in the abdominal area, irregular bleeding, changes in themenstrual cycle, and in some cases infertility. Its cause is still unknown, but some theories point togenetic mutations which result in retrospective menstruation, a malfunction of the reproductive systemwhich makes menstruation to back up through the fallopian tubes into the pelvis instead of beingexpelled. It is thought that women with endometriosis have problems in their immunological systembecause, normally, this type of tissue would be removed by the own body’s defenses, but in womenwith endometriosis this doesn’t happen. It is as if the body wasn’t able to recognize these dysfunctionalgroups of cells and thus allowed them to be there. This disease affects 4 of every 10 women worldwide,of any age and any race. In Puerto Rico, this is a very common condition and also affects 40% of thefemale population. This is why it is a quite relevant field for study, and the reason why it is studied bythe graduate alumni of the Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences. When we visited the Ponce School of Medicine, one of their students on her third year ofdoctoral degree, called Abigail Ruiz, explained us how this university is making an important impact inthe study of endometriosis. At PMS, a selected group of graduate students interested in endometriosisalong with their mentors make up the Endometriosis Research Program. They are making research andworking in the labs to see if they can find a way of understanding endometriosis in a broader way.Abigail talked to us about the projects that the Endometriosis Research Program, is doing, especiallyabout one related to how the endometrial cells express the CXC4 co-receptor and about the role ofhistone modifications as a mechanism of gene expression regulation in endometriosis. Abigail’s presentation was quite interesting and didactic because on it I learned a lot of newconcepts about endometriosis that I was unaware of. I liked very much her confidence and herknowledge of the topic. I also admire the fact that Abigail was able and willing to answer all thequestions presented by the audience in an accurate way. However, I would recommend her to useaudiovisual resources for a next time because it would help the spectators to keep up with her line ofthought and to comprehend better the scientific concepts. In conclusion, as a whole, the presentationwas very satisfactory because it showed us a general view of the topic as well as the work that is beingdone about this condition. Finally, I would recommend this visit to the Ponce School of Medicine to allthe university alumni interested on being oriented about graduate studies.