New pathologist focuses research on AL amyloidosis

Luis del Pozo-Yauner, M.D., Ph.D., has devoted his professional life to the scientific research of amyloid light-chain (AL) amyloidosis, a disease that occurs when the bone marrow produces abnormal antibodies.

Published Aug 16th, 2019

By Lindsay Hughes

Luis del Pozo-Yauner, M.D., Ph.D., has devoted his professional life to the scientific research of amyloid light-chain (AL) amyloidosis, a disease that occurs when the bone marrow produces abnormal antibodies.

Del Pozo-Yauner recently joined the University of South Alabama College of Medicine faculty as an assistant professor of pathology and clinical chemistry director. In addition to teaching and training pathology residents, he serves as a pathologist with USA Health and conducts research in AL amyloidosis.

In AL patients, plasma cells in the bone marrow produce misfolded proteins called amyloids. These abnormal antibodies can’t be broken down, so they build up in tissue, nerves and organs. Over time, amyloidosis damages the tissue and interferes with its function. Severe amyloidosis can lead to life-threatening organ failure.

After earning his medical degree from Cienfuegos Medical School in Cuba, del Pozo-Yauner began specialization studies in clinical biochemistry at the Higher Institute of Medical Science in Villa Clara, Cuba. His research in Villa Clara laid the foundation for his devotion to amyloidosis and connected him with his mentor, Alan Solomon, M.D., at the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville.

“Dr. Solomon, who is presently retired, is a worldwide recognized leader in the research about the pathogenesis of light-chain-derived (AL) amyloidosis and other disorders caused by overproduction of monoclonal light chains, also known as Bence Jones Proteins,” del Pozo-Yauner said. “Dr. Solomon provided me with abundant information on that subject, as well as useful advice regarding the best form to conduct my project. But he was also a decisive influence in my subsequent decision to devote myself entirely to scientific research in AL amyloidosis.”

Del Pozo-Yauner went on to earn his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the Institute of Biotechnology UNAM in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. He later worked as a researcher in biomedical science at the National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN) in Mexico City.

“While working at INMEGEN, I developed studies about the mechanism of light-chain amyloid aggregation,” he said. “There, my research was funded by intramural grants and extramural grants from Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT), as well as with funds obtained from international agencies such as The Royal Society in the United Kingdom.”

Prior to joining the faculty at the USA College of Medicine, del Pozo-Yauner served as an assistant professor in the department of pathology and translational pathobiology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport.

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