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Perez Rodriguez, Lester

Research Assistant Professor

Address and Contact Information

2001 South Lincoln
M/C 002
Urbana, IL  61802


  • PhD. Veterinary Science, University of Havana, Cuba.
  • MSc. Molecular Biology and Virology, University of Havana, Cuba.
  • Diplomate-Certified in Bioinformatics, London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.
  • Honor BSc. Microbiology (with distinction) University of Havana, Cuba.

Academic Positions

  • Research Associate
    Faculty of Medicine,Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB), Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.
  • Research Scientist
    OIE Collaboration Center/National Center for Animal and Plant Health (CENSA), Havana, Cuba
  • Postdoctoral-fellow University of Bern, Switzerland.
    Host-pathogen interactions using molecular biology and reverse genetic technologies
  • Postdoctoral-fellow University of Barcelona, Spain.
    Detection and characterization of novel MicroRNA associated to virulence and latency processes using next generation sequencing.

Research Interests

Dr. Perez is a highly motivated and innovative researcher who has developed a strong expertise in the fields of molecular virology, host-pathogen interactions, molecular biology and bioinformatics. He has focused his research in the host-pathogen interactions area, using the state-of-the-art of reverse genetic techniques to understand the virulence determinants and pathogenesis of viral agents and the cutting-edge tools such as CRISPR/cas9 technology for editing genes and genomic manipulation.

Current Projects

  • 2013-2014 Program of the Cuban government: Development of molecular differential diagnosis and molecular epidemiology of infectious viral diseases.
  • 2012-2013 OIE-Twinning Project between OIE/European Union Reference Laboratory for CSFV (EURL-Ti-Ho) and CENSA.
  • 2010 FAO Project TCP/RLA/3206 Biosafety of the swine production.
  • 2008-2010 OIE-Twinning Project between OIE Reference Laboratory for AIV (IZSVe) and CENSA.
  • 2008-2009 National Program of Veterinary Biotechnology PNCT 044/07.

Honors and Awards

  • 2016 2nd Award-8th Annual New Brunswick Health Research Foundation Conference (NBHRF)
  • 2013 Academic award - Cuban Academy of Science
  • 2012 Academic award - Cuban Academy of Science
  • 2011 Academic award - Cuban Academy of Science
  • 2011 Best PhD Thesis - Commission for Academic Degrees
  • 2010 Academic award - Cuban Academy of Science
  • 2009 Academic award - Cuban Academy of Science

Selected Publications

  • Rios L, Perera CL, Coronado L, Relova D, Alvarez AM, Ganges L, Díaz de Arce H, Núñez JI, Pérez LJ. 2018. Multi-target strategy for pan/foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) detection: a combination of sequences analysis, in silico predictions and laboratory diagnostic evaluation. Front. Vet. Sci. 2018| doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00160
  • Rios L, Núñez JI, Díaz de Arce H, Ganges L, Pérez LJ. 2018. Revisiting the genetic diversity of classical swine fever virus: A proposal for new genotyping and subgenotyping schemes of classification. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2018 May 25. doi:10.1111/tbed.12909.
  • Rios L, Pérez LJ (2018) Commentary: Genetic evolution of classical swine fever virus under immune environments conditioned by genotype 1-based modified live virus vaccine. Front. Vet. Sci. 5:55. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00055
  • Relova D, Rios L, Acevedo AM, Coronado L, Perera CL, Pérez LJ,. Impact of RNA Degradation on Viral Diagnosis: An Understated but Essential Step for the Successful Establishment of a Diagnosis Network. Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(1), 19; doi:10.3390/vetsci5010019
  • Rios L, Coronado L, Naranjo-Feliciano D, Martínez-Pérez O, Perera CL, Hernandez-Alvarez L, Díaz de Arce H, Núñez JI, Ganges L, Pérez LJ. Deciphering the emergence, genetic diversity and evolution of classical swine fever virus. Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 20;7(1):17887. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-18196-y.
  • Barrera, M., A. Garrido-Haro, M. S. Vaca, D. Granda, A. Acosta-Batallas and Pérez LJ. Tracking the Origin and Deciphering the Phylogenetic Relationship of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus in Ecuador. BioMed research international, 2017:2978718. doi: 10.1155/2017/2978718.
  • Núñez-Hernández F, Pérez LJ, Muñoz M, Vera G, Accensi F, Sánchez A, Rodríguez F, Núñez JI. Differential expression of porcine microRNAs in African swine fever virus infected pigs: a proof-of-concept study. Virol J. 2017 Oct 17;14(1):198.
  • Pérez LJ, Rios L, Trivedi P, D'Souza K, Cowie A, Nzirorera C, Webster D,Brunt K, Legare JF, Hassan A, Kienesberger PC, Pulinilkunnil T. Validation of optimal reference genes for quantitative real time PCR in muscle and adipose tissue for obesity and diabetes research. Sci Rep. 2017 Jun 15;7(1):3612.
  • Alfonso-Morales, A., Rios, L., Martínez-Pérez, O., Dolz, R., Valle, R., Perera, C.L., Bertran, K., Frِías, M.T., Ganges, L., Díaz de Arce, H., Majó, N., Núñez, J.I., Pérez L.J*. Evaluation of a phylogenetic marker based on genomic segment B of infectious bursal disease virus: facilitating a feasible incorporation of this segment to the molecular epidemiology studies for this viral agent. PLoS One, 2015; 10(5):e0125853.
  • Pérez L.J, Perera, C.L., Coronado, L., Rios, L., Vega, A., Frías, M.T., Ganges, L., Núñez, J.I., Díaz de Arce, H. Molecular epidemiology study of swine influenza virus revealing a reassorted virus H1N1 in swine farms in Cuba. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2015; 119:172-178.
  • Postel, A., Pérez L.J, Perera, C.L., Schmeiser, S., Meyer, D., Meindl-Boehmer, A., Austerman-Busch, S., Frias-Lepoureau, M.T., Becher, P. Development of a new LAMP assay for the detection of CSFV strains from Cuba - a proof-of-concept study. Archives of Virology, 2015; 160:1435-1448.
  • Núñez-Hernández, F., Pérez L.J, Muñoz M., Vera, G., Tomás, A., Egea, R., Segalés, J., Sánchez, A., Núñez, JI. Identification and characterization of microRNAs in PCV2 subclinically infected pigs by high throughput sequencing. Veterinary Research, 2015; 46(1):18.
  • Acevedo, A.M., Perera, C.L., Vega, A., Ríos, L., Coronado, L., Relova, D., Frías, M.T., Núñez, J.I., Ganges, L., Pérez L.J*. A duplex SYBR Green I-based real-time RT-PCR assay for the simultaneous detection and differentiation of Massachusetts and non-Massachusetts serotypes of infectious bronchitis virus. Molecular and Cellular Probes, October 2013; 27(5-6):184-192.
  • Machado L, Navea LM, Díaz HM, Blanco M, Dubed M, Romay DM, Silva E, Pérez L.J. Phylogenetic analysis of human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 isolated from Cuban individuals. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, August 2013; 29(8):1168-1172.
  • Alfonso-Morales, A., Martínez-Pérez, O., Dolz, R., Valle, R., Perera, CL., Bertran, K., Frías, MT., Majó, N., Ganges, L., Pérez L.J*. Spatiotemporal Phylogenetic Analysis and Molecular Characterisation of Infectious Bursal Disease Viruses Based on the VP2 Hyper-Variable Region. PLoS One, June 2013; 8(6):e65999.
  • Pérez L.J, Perera CL, Vega A, Frías MT, Rouseaux D, Ganges L, Nuñez JI, Díaz de Arce H. Isolation and complete genomic characterization of pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza viruses from Cuban swine herds. Research in Veterinary Science, January 2013; 94(3):781-788.
  • Martínez N, Brandão PE, de Souza SP, Barrera M, Santana N, de Arce HD, Pérez L.J. Molecular and phylogenetic analysis of bovine coronavirus based on the spike glycoprotein gene. Infection Genetic and Evolution, December 2012; 12(8):1870-1878.
  • Acevedo A.M., Díaz de Arce, H. Brandão, P.E., Colas, M., Oliveira, S., Pérez L.J. First evidence of the emergence of novel putative infectious bronchitis virus genotypes in Cuba. Research in Veterinary Science, October 2012; 93(2):1046-1049.
  • Pérez L.J, Díaz de Arce H, Perera CL, Rosell R, Frías MT, Percedo MI, Tarradas J, Dominguez P, Núñez JI, Ganges L.Positive selection pressure on the B/C domains of the E2-gene of classical swine fever virus in endemic areas under C-strain vaccination. Infection Genetics and Evolution, October 2012; 12(7):1405-1412.
  • Pérez L.J, Perera C.L, Frías MT, Núñez JI., Ganges L, Díaz de Arce H. A multiple SYBR Green I-based real-time PCR system for the simultaneous detection of porcine circovirus type 2, porcine parvovirus, pseudorabies virus and Torque teno sus virus 1 and 2 in pigs. Journal of Virological Methods, January 2012, 179(1):233-241.
  • Pérez L.J, Díaz de Arce H, Cilloni F, Salviato A, Marciano S, Perera CL, Salomoni A, Beato, Romero A, Capua I, Cattoli G. An SYBR Green-based real-time RT-PCR assay for the detection of H5 hemagglutinin subtype avian influenza virus. Molecular and Cellular Probes, January 2012, 26(3):137-145.
  • Pérez L.J, Arce HD, Frias MT, Perera CL, Ganges L, Núñez JI. Molecular detection of Torque teno sus virus in lymphoid tissues in concomitant infections with other porcine viral pathogens. Research in Veterinary Science, December 2011, 91(3):e154-157.
  • Pérez, L.J, de Arce HD, Cortey M, Domínguez P, Percedo MI, Perera CL, Tarradas J, Frías MT, Segalés J, Ganges L, Núñez JI. Phylogenetic networks to study the origin and evolution of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) in Cuba. Veterinary Microbiology, August 2011, 151(3-4):245-254.
  • Pérez L.J, Díaz de Arce H, Tarradas J, Rosell R, Perera CL, Muñoz M, Frías MT, Nuñez JI, Ganges L. Development and validation of a novel SYBR Green real-time RT-PCR assay for the detection of classical swine fever virus evaluated on different real-time PCR platforms. Journal of Virological Methods, January 2011, 174(1-2):53-59.
  • Pérez, L.J, De Arce, H.D., Frías, M.T. Genetic characterization and phylogenetic analysis of porcine circovirus type 2 strains. Research Article. Research in Veterinary Science, October 2010, 9(2):301-305.
  • Pérez, L.J, Díaz de Arce, H., Percedo, M.I., Domínguez, P., Frías, M.T. First report of porcine circovirus type 2 infections in Cuba. Research in Veterinary Science, June 2010, 88(3):528-530.
  • Pérez, L.J, Díaz de Arce, H A RT-PCR assay for the detection of encephalomycarditis virus infections in pigs. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, October 2009, 40(4):988-993.
  • Pérez, L.J, Díaz de Arce, H. Development of a polymerase chain reaction assay for the detection of pseudorabies virus in clinical samples. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, July 2009, 433-438.

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