Meet Natalia Rivera Sánchez, the Puerto Rican Pharmacist Leading the Way in Male Contraception Research

Meet Natalia Rivera Sánchez, the Puerto Rican Pharmacist Leading the Way in Male Contraception Research
Credit: Weill Cornell Medicine

Latina pharmacist, Natalia Rivera Sánchez, is on the path to becoming a trailblazer in the field of male contraception research. 

“Male contraceptives are much needed. The responsibility of family planning nowadays falls heavily on women,” Rivera Sánchez told El Nuevo Dia.  

Raised in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Rivera Sánchez’s academic journey began at the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey, where she started immersing herself into the world of science through the Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement program. Through these experiences and her genuine interest in her field, she laid the groundwork for her future endeavors. 

A Look Into the Work of Natalia Rivera Sánchez

Following her undergraduate studies, Rivera Sánchez embarked on a series of internships across various states, which allowed her to expand her horizons. However, according to El Nuevo Dia, it was her time at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City that ignited her passion for drug development and reproductive health. 

Rivera Sánchez has found herself at the forefront of cutting-edge research into soluble adenylate cyclase inhibitors as a potential male contraceptive. Their groundbreaking study, published in Nature Communications in February 2023, unveiled the temporary infertility induced in male mice by these inhibitors, paving the way for a novel contraceptive strategy. 

The study also discusses a potential contraceptive method for men, which entails taking a pill shortly before engaging in sexual activity. This pill would offer protection against unwanted pregnancy for several hours thereafter. 

Rivera Sánchez’s research focuses on unraveling the complexities of sAC isoforms and their expression patterns across various organs. By shedding light on the multifaceted role of sAC beyond reproductive tissues, her work holds profound implications for the future of male contraception. 

Despite the promising prospects of male contraceptives, Rivera Sánchez is acutely aware of the challenges that lie ahead. Limited funding and lingering societal stigmas surrounding male contraception continue to impede progress in the field. 

Looking ahead, Rivera Sánchez is determined to leverage her expertise to advocate for advancements in male contraceptive technologies and shape public policy. By championing a more inclusive approach to family planning, she aims to empower people to make informed choices about their reproductive health. 

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