Profile - Sergio Florez

Sergio Florez


I joined the Curtis Lab in October of 2010 after working for two year in Texas A&M Health Science Center in Houston. In Texas A&M under the guidance of Dr. Amendt, I did research in the mechanism that control craniofacial development. Prior to working in Houston I received my B.Sc. in Biotechnology Engineering from ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico.


Low-cost Plant Propagation Bioreactor Development using Cacao: This project has the goal to develop low-cost bioreactor systems that will enhance the ability to utilize tissue culture to improve agricultural plant productivity. The research will also focus on finding and isolating the genes responsible for embryogenesis and through transient gene technology developed by Dr.Curtis' lab be introduce to our model plant, Cacao. The genes associated with plant embryo formation will be identified by examining patterns of gene expression during somatic embryogenesis by techniques such as DNA microarrays. This project is a collaboration between the laboratories of Mark Guiltinan/Siela Maximova in Horticulture and Dr. Curtis' Laboratory in Chemical Engineering. This projected is funded by the NSF.


S Florez, A Pena-Francesch, H Jung, S Aswathy, A Istvan, W R Curtis, M C Demirel, (2014). Materials Fabrication from Native and a Recombinant Thermoplastic squid proteins. Advanced Functional Materials. doi: 10.1002/adfm.201401940.

S Maximova, S Florez, X Shen, N Niemenak, Y Zhang, W R Curtis, and M Guiltinan, (2014). Genome-wide analysis reveals divergent patterns of gene expression during zygotic and somatic embryo maturation of Theobroma cacao L., the chocolate tree. BMC Plant Biology, 14(185)

Sergio Florez, Matthew S. Curtis, Siela Maximova, Mark Guiltinan and Wayne R. Curtis. (660h) Genetic and Environmental Manipulation of Somatic Embryo Formation for Plant Improvement. 2013 AIChE Annual meeting, November 3-8, 2013. San Francisco, CA. (Oral presentation)

Sergio Florez, Matt Curtis, Wayne R. Curtis. Improving the Process of Somatic Embryogenesis Using Transient Expression of Transcription Factors and the Implementation of a Novel Bioreactor Design. 2013 Society for In Vitro Biology, June 15-19, Providence, Rhode Island. (Third Place in student oral competition)

Sydney Shaw, Matt Curtis, Sergio Florez, Jeff Larsen, and Wayne R. Curtis An Improved Temporary Immersion Bioreactor Design for Plant Tissue Culture Propagation (Oral P-1008) 2012 World Congress on In Vitro Biology, June 3-7, Bellevue, WA.

Sergio Florez, Sydney Shaw, Wayne R. Curtis Bioreactor Design for In Vitro Plant Propagation and Somatic Embryo Induction Using Transient Expression of Transcription Factors, (Interactive Poster P-2009) 2012 World Congress on In Vitro Biology, June 3-7, Bellevue, WA.

Prior Publications

Cao H, Florez S, Amen M, Huynh T, Skobe Z, Baldini A, Amendt BA. Tbx1 regulates progenitor cell proliferation in the dental epithelium by modulating PITX2 activation of p21. Dev Biol. 2010 Sep 10

Zhang Z, Florez S, Gutierrez-Hartmann A, Martin JF, Amendt BA. MicroRNAs regulate pituitary development and microRNA 26b specifically targets lymphoid enhancer factor 1 (Lef-1), which modulates pituitary transcription factor 1 (Pit-1) expression.The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285, 34718-34728 2010 Aug 31

Cao H, Wang J, Li X, Florez S, Huang Z, Venugopalan SR, Elangovan S, Skobe Z, Margolis HC, Martin JF, Amendt BA. MicroRNAs play a critical role in tooth development. J Dent Res. 2010 Aug;89(8):779-84

Shankar R. Venugopalan, Xiao Li, Melanie A. Amen, Sergio Florez, Diana Gutierrez, Huojun Cao, Jianbo Wang, Brad A. Amend. Hierarchical Interactions of Homeodomain and Forkhead Transcription Factors in Regulating Odontogenic Gene Expression. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Papers in Press. Published on April 19, 2011

Zhang Z, Wlodarczyk BJ, Niederreither K, Venugopalan S, Florez S, Finnell RH, Amendt BA. Fuz regulates craniofacial development through tissue specific responses to signaling factors. PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24608. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Prior Presentations

H. Cao, S. Florez, J. Wang, S. Venugopalan, Z. Zhang, J.F. Martin and B.A. Amendt. Texas A&M Health Science Center, IBT. Incisor and Molar Pattering, Shape, and Size are regulated by Discrete sets of microRNAs. IADR/AADR/CADR 87th General Session and Exhibition. (April1-4, 2009)

S.R. Venugopalan, S. Florez, H. Cao, J. Wang, R.N. D'Souza, and B.A. Amendt, Texas A & M University Health Science Center, Baylor College of Dentistry. Dlx-2 Regulation of FoxJ1 Expression During Tooth Morphogenesis.IADR/AADR/CADR 87th General Session and Exhibition. (April1-4, 2009)


Prevent Accidents With Safety (PAWS) Safety Student of the Month 08/2013

Society for In-vitro Biology Third Place in student oral competition 06/2013

Bunton-Waller Graduate Student Fellowship 2010-2011

Contact Information

229 Fenske Laboratory,

Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16801


Phone: (936) 641-8740