Rocío K. Rivera-Valentín, BS, MD, PhD

Assistant Clinical Investigator, Cancer Medicine Department, UPR Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Juan, PR.


Dr. Rivera Valentín entered an Industrial Biotechnology Bachelor’s program at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus to pursue her interest in sciences. She became passionate about research, specifically in pediatric oncology, after completing multiple summer research internships at Harvard Medical School and MD Anderson Cancer Center among other renowned institutions.

She entered the MD/PhD track of the U54 Partnership between UPR Medical Sciences Campus and MD Anderson Cancer Center with the goal of becoming a physician-scientist caring for pediatric cancer patients. Her PhD at MDACC was focused on Cancer Biology, specifically pediatric osteosarcoma and the role of Her-4, part of the EGFR receptor family, in conferring chemotherapy resistance and metastatic disease. After this, she completed her pediatrics internship and residency at the University of Puerto Rico Pediatric Hospital and continued her fellowship in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at University of Florida, Jacksonville in 2020. For the research component of her fellowship, she joined Dr. Hong Qin’s lab at Mayo Clinic Florida where she worked on preclinical models using CAR T-cell therapy on high-grade pediatric brain tumors.

Dr. Rivera-Valentín joined the UPR Comprehensive Cancer Center in September 2023 where she will continue working on understanding pediatric solid tumors in our Hispanic population and designing targeted immunotherapies. Her long-term goal is to not only care for patients with pediatric cancer but also discover new therapeutic options to improve survival while minimizing long-term side effects.

(Updated Oct 18, 2023)