Ana Maria Porras, Ph.D.

Ana Maria Porras, Ph.D.

1275 Center Drive,
Biomedical Sciences Building,
Gainesville, FL 32610

Assistant Professor

Biomaterials & tissue engineering to study host-microbe interactions and inclusive science communication


B.S., Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 2011
M.S., Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016

Research Summary:

Porras’ research interests encompass a wide variety of topics including, biomaterials, cardiovascular disease, the microbiome and infectious disease. Originally from Colombia, Porras arrived in the U.S. 14 years ago to pursue a B.S. in biomedical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Immediately after, she completed a Masters and Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellow. At UW, she also obtained a Delta Certificate in Teaching and Learning with an emphasis on inclusive pedagogy. That passion for diversity and inclusion drives most of her work; most recently, she co-founded the Latinx in BME community and was selected as one of 125 AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors for girls and women in STEM. Porras is also a science artist and bilingual communicator. Every #MicrobeMonday, she teaches microbiology on social media using crocheted microbes designed by herself.

Honors and Awards:

  • Cornell Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2019 – 2022
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science If/Then Ambassador, 2019 – 2021
  • Institute of Biotechnology Seed Grant, Cornell, 2019
  • Building Future Faculty Scholar, North Carolina State University, 2019
  • Postdoc Achievement Award for Excellence in Community Engagement, Cornell University, 2018
  • Two Photon Art Science Communication Small Grant, 2018
  • American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship, 2015-2016
  • Patricia Heard Outstanding Student Educator Award, University of Texas at Austin, 2011

Selected Publications:

Porras AM, Brito IL. The Internationalization of Gut Microbiome Research. Current Opinion in Microbiology, Accepted, 2019

Porras AM, Westlund JA, Evans AD, Masters KS. “Creation of Disease-Inspired Biomaterial Environments to Mimic Pathological Events in Early Calcific Aortic Valve Disease.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(3):E363-E371, 2018.

Porras AM*, Engeland N*, Marchbanks E, McCormack A, Bouten C, Yacoub MH, Latif N, Masters KS. “Robust Generation of Quiescent Porcine Valvular Interstitial Cell Cultures.” JAHA: Journal of the American Heart Association, 6(3):e005401, 2017. *Denotes equal contribution by authors

Porras AM, McCoy CM, Masters KS. “Calcific Aortic Valve Disease: A Battle of the Sexes.” Circulation Research, 120(4):604-606, 2017. Invited editorial.

Porras AM*, Hutson HN*, Berger AJ, Masters KS. “Engineering Approaches to Study Fibrosis in 3-D in Vitro Systems.” Current Opinions in Biotechnology, 40:24-30, 2016. *Denotes equal contribution by authors.

Porras AM, Shanmuganayagam D, Meudt JJ, Kreuger CG, Rahko PS, Reed JD, Masters KS. “Development of Aortic Valve Disease in Familial Hypercholesterolemic Swine: Implications for Elucidating Disease Etiology.” JAHA: Journal of the American Heart Association, 4(10):e002254, 2015.

Porras AM, Masters KS. “Wave Mice: a New Tool in the Quest to Characterize Aortic Valvular Disease Etiologies.” Journal of Thoracic Disease, 7(9):E332-334, 2015. Invited editorial.

Porras AM, Shanmuganayagam D, Meudt JJ, Krueger CG, Reed JD, Masters KS. “Gene Expression Profiling of Valvular Interstitial Cells in Rapacz Familial Hypercholesterolemic Swine.” Genomics Data, 1(2):261-263, 2014.

Rodriguez KJ, Piechura LM, Porras AM, Masters KS. “Manipulation of Valve Composition to Elucidate the Role of Collagen in Aortic Valve Calcification.” BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 14(29), 2014. Submitted

Márquez MC, Porras AM. How to Effectively Make Science Communication Inclusive in a Multicultural Society. In Preparation

Porras AM, Shi Q, Montenegro G, Solomons N, Brito IL. Geographic Differences in Gut Microbiome Composition Affect Susceptibility to Enteric Infection.