The San Juan Bautista School of Medicine Research Center (SJBSM-RC) is a non-academic structure created with the goal to strengthen and expand the institution’s commitment and efforts to enhance faculty scholarly productivity and collaborative research.

Research collaboration across disciplines, between universities and with the public and private sector is an integral part of its research agenda. Therefore, the primary responsibilities of the Research Center are to strengthen the implementation of the SJBSM Research Strategic Plan to enhance clinical and translational research scholarly productivity and collaborative research. The SJBSM- RC aims to meet the four goals proposed by SJBSM in developing a robust research workforce and culture:


1. To build and sustain a productive research culture.

2. To develop and foster a research environment.

3. To enhance and enable access to research infrastructure.

4. To increase productivity through interdisciplinary and collaborative research.



A significant component of the SJBSM- RC activities to increase scholarly productivity is the offering of a Grantsmanship for Independent Research Development (GIRD) Program to talented SJBSM young faculty, early-stage investigators and new investigators. The GIRD program consists of a series of activities including Scientific Writing, Conferences entitled “Integration to Advance Translation” and a Grantsmanship Individual Development Annual Series. Each participating faculty has at least an external mentor in their area of expertise to facilitate the development and submission of manuscripts and mentored competitive grants. The program also has the participation of outstanding senior mentors and advisors who will support our efforts in coaching these talented faculty in becoming independent researchers. Their involvement includes online reviews, invited speakers for conferences and seminars and in-person meetings.

Organizational Structure

The organizational structure of the SJBSM Research Center currently includes a Director that reports to the President/Dean, an Institutional Advisory Committee and an External Advisory Committee, the Office for Sponsored Research, Research Core Laboratories, Clinical Trials Unit, Students’ Research Program and the Research Division of the Puerto Rico Health Justice Center. The Director of the SJBSM-RC lead most of the tasks included in the Research Strategic Plan. The Institutional Research Committee supports the Research Center Director to reinforce the importance of scholarly productivity outcomes such as publications, grants, presentations, awards, collaborations, and partnerships.

Research Center - Organizational Chart (Click here to Download)

The RC Director leads and oversee the prospect and research function, offering support to faculty and staff to help them achieve their research goals. Through these efforts, the Research Center Director maintains close communication with the Academic Dean, Associate Deans and Department Chairs related to faculty interested in research to provide mentoring, coaching, training, networking opportunities and explore ways to increase their scholarly productivity.

Other functions and responsibilities include:

  • Develop and oversee goals, budgets and policies and procedures for the Research Center.
  • Maintain an awareness of the scientific goals and accomplishments of SJBSM.
  • Provide the context that scholarly productivity measured in research outcomes such as publications, grants, presentations, awards, collaborations, and partnerships, are expected and valued for faculty advancement.
  • Supervise the Office for Sponsored Research staff. Set the program goals and provide routine evaluations of progress toward these goals.
  • Ensure adherence to professional standards and ethics of prospect research.
  • Organize a team of internal and external reviewers to support research development.
  • Collaborate with the Student research coordinators and develop a yearly plan to increase and develop the esearch studies by student of SJBSM academic programs.
  • Support the agreement between the Clinical Trial administrator/director and the President/Dean and provide routine evaluations of progress toward the goals.
  • Evaluate Core laboratories’ research tools and emerging technology.


Some of the current areas of interest of SJBSM young faculty researchers are: small molecule and drug delivery systems for cancer therapy; neurodegenerative diseases and inflammation pathways; woman health reproduction, Epigenetics and endocrine disruptors, and cardiovascular diseases and sexual violence. The infrastructure of the institution core laboratories was strongly improved by the creation of new laboratories dedicated for research studies. These facilities will strengthen the capacity of current young clinical and translational faculty researchers to expand their areas of specialization, such as cancer nanomedicine, anti-inflammatory biomarkers, and female reproductive diseases. The Puerto Rico Health Justice Center was created in 2015 to offer comprehensive forensic clinical services to victims-survivors of sexual violence for children, adolescents and adults, from a victim centered, trauma informed, biopsychosocial and public health perspective, through a health justice process. The San Juan Bautista School of Medicine Clinical Research Unit (CRU) is a fully functional clinical research center that provides a research infrastructure to support outpatient clinical trials and works in collaboration with Hospital Menonita Caguas to assure appropriate training and good clinical practices (GCP’s) with each study based on the criteria and guidelines of the protocol.

Research Center Director

Estela S. Estapé, MT, PhD, DHL

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Dr. Estela S. Estapé is a Medical Technologist with a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Puerto Rico -Medical Sciences Campus (UPR-MSC), School of Medicine, post-doctoral training at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, NY and received an honorary Doctoral degree in Humane Letters (DHL) from t A. T. Still University, Mesa, Arizona. In 2016, Dr. Estape retired from the UPR-MSC after 38 years of experience including being a Merit Review Investigator of the Veterans Administration, Dean of the School of Health Professions and PI & Director of several NIH funded programs and projects. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Clinical and Translational Sciences until April 2018 and continues to be a member of the Editorial Board of its Journal. Dr. Estape has been very active in the Editorial Board of the PR Health Sciences Journal since 2011, is a peer-reviewer for several national and international scientific journals and is an active grant reviewer for the NIMHD loan repayment program. After her retirement, she continues in the UPR-MSC as Professor and Senior Advisor for research career development and is actively working as Director of the San Juan Bautista Research Center to support building scientific research capacity, including individual and group coaching for grant and manuscript writing from development until submission.