Sonia M. Rocha-Sanchez, BS, MS, PhD
Sonia M. Rocha-Sanchez, BS, MS, PhD

Sonia M. Rocha-Sanchez, BS, MS, PhD

Professor
Director, Biomedical Sciences Research Core
Assistant Dean, Creighton University School of Dentistry, Research
School of Dentistry

Expertise/Specializations

  • Master in Business Administration (MBA)
  • Business Development
  • Technology Transfer

Academic Appointments

Department

  • Oral Biology

Position

  • Professor

Secondary Appointment

  • School of Medicine

Teaching Activity

  • Histology
  • Human Physiology
  • Introduction to Scientific Research

Biography

Sonia M. Rocha-Sanchez, Ph.D., is a tenured associate professor of Human Physiology and Biomedical Sciences in the Department of Oral Biology. She has a Bachelor in Science  in Biology (UFAC, Brazil), a M.S. in Genetics (UFV, Brazil), a Ph.D. in Cell and Structural Biology and Population Cytogenetics (UNICAMP, Brazil/UGr, Spain), and a Master in Business Administration (MBA; Creighton University). Dr. Rocha-Sanchez leads an active research program at the Creighton University School of Dentistry, mentoring junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students in a variety of research projects. Current projects include auditory and oral tissue regeneration, caries research, oral inflammation, and technology transfer.
Dr. Rocha-Sanchez currently serves as a liaison and mentor for the Academic Dental Careers Fellowship Program (ADCFP) administered and supported by the Academy of Academic Leadership and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). These programs focus on  providing students with opportunity to receive training and explore opportunities on academic research and teaching, as well as provide specific professional training to faculty members with regards to mentoring and leadership.
Dr. Rocha-Sanchez’s past and current research has been funded by several federally and privately  funded grants. Moreover, she contributed on two funded Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants, and published a number of peer-reviewed manuscripts in high-profile scientific journals.

Education

  • 1996 - B.S. Biological Sciences
  • 1998 - M.S. Genetics
  • 2002 - Ph.D. Cellular and Structural Biology/Population Cytogenetics
  • 2016 - MBA

Publications and Presentations

Articles

  • Tarang S., Doi, S.M.S.R., Gurumurthy C.B., Harms D.W., Quadros R., Rocha-Sanchez S.M*. (2014) Generation of a Retinoblastoma (Rb)1-inducible dominant negative (DN)mouse model. DOI: 10.3389/fncel.2015.00052, Frontiers in Cel. Neurosc., 9:52, 2015
  • Rocha-Sanchez S.M*, Scheetz LR, Siddiqi S, Weston MD, Smith LM, Dempsey K, Ali H, McGee J, Walsh E (2013) Lack of Rbl1/p107 Effects on Cell Proliferation and Maturation in the Inner Ear. DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2013.37056., JBBS, 3:534-555, 2013
  • Barritt L., Miller J.M., Scheetz L., Pierce M.L., Soukup G, Rocha-Sanchez S.M*, (2013) Conditional Deletion of the Human Orthologue Gene Dicer1 in Pax2-Cre Expression Domain Impairs Orofacial Development. 18: 310-319. DOI: 10.4103/0971-6866.107984., IJHG, 18:310-319, 2013
  • Lv P, Sihn CR, Wang W, Shen H, Kim HJ, Rocha-Sanchez SM, Yamoah EN (2012) Posthearing Ca2+ currents and their roles in shaping the different modes of firing of spiral ganglion neurons. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2097-12.2012., Neuroscience, 32:16314-16330, 2012
  • Montiel EE, Manrique-Poyato MI, Rocha-Sánchez SM, López-León MD, Cabrero J, Perfectti F, Camacho, JP (2012) Nucleolus size varies with sex, ploidy and gene dosage in insects. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3032.2011.00822.x, Physiological Entomology, 37:145-152, 2012
  • Rocha-Sanchez SM *, Scheetz LR, Contreras M, Weston MD, Kortes M, McGee J, Walsh E (2011) Mature Mice Lacking Rbl2/p130 Gene Have Supernumerary Inner Ear Hair Cells and Supporting Cells. PMCID: PMC3132102; DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5821-10.2011., J. Neuroscience 31, 31:8883-8893, 2011
  • Weston MD, Pierce ML, Smith HC, Fritzsch B, Rocha-Sanchez SM, Beisel KW, Soukup GA (2011) MicroRNA-183 family marks neurosensory cell fates in the developing and mature mouse inner ear. PMCID: PMC3072272; DOI 10.1002/dvdy.22591., Dev Dyn, 240:808-819, 2011
  • Sciarretta C, Fritzsch B, Beisel KW, Rocha-Sanchez SM, Minichiello L (2010) PLC-g mediated signaling is essential for trkB mediated structural neuronal plasticity. PMCID: PMC2964534; DOI:10.1186/1471-213X-10-103, BMC Developmental Biology, 10:1-15, 2010

Presentations

  • Panel Discussion: Safe and Sound - Biological, Cultural, and Social Aspects of Hearing Impairment, 2016
  • Therapeutic prospects of Atoh1 Gene Therapy for Hair Cell Regeneration – Where do we stand? Creighton University School of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Sciences. May 1st, 2015., 2015
  • Puetz III, W.J., Barritt L.C., Kum J.M., Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Tarang S., O’kane B.J. (2015) TREM-1 and TREM-2 protein expression in normal and healthy human gingival tissue. 2015 AACA Annual Meeting, Henderson, NV., 2015
  • Therapeutic prospects for treating and rescuing lost hearing. Boys Town National Research Hospital (BTNRH). December 16th, 2014., 2014
  • Reversible Inactivation of the Retinoblastoma 1 (Rb1) Gene: What does it mean for hair cell proliferation? University of Nebraska Medical center, November 11th, 2014., 2014
  • Berry M.R., Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Benn D.K. (2014) Determining the difference between active and inactive white spot lesions using Sodium Iodide. Creighton University St. Albert’s Research Day. Omaha, NE, 2014
  • Tarang S., Gurumurthy C., Rocha-Sanchez S.M. (2014) Characterization of a novel Rb1 inducible dominant-negative mouse model. 37th ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. San Diego, CA., 2014
  • Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Kum J., Zhang Q., Wagner K-U (2014) Temporally Controlled Inactivation of the Retinoblastoma Family of Proteins in the Auditory Supporting Cells. 37th ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. San Diego, CA., 2014
  • Brechon M.L., Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Benn D.K. (2013) Pilot Study: Can the presence of calculus in occlusal fissures influence the radiographic detection of caries? 19th International congress of Dentomaxillofacial Radiology (IADMFR). Bergen, Norway., 2013
  • McGee J., Brunette K., Stimmler S., Filippini K., Rocha-Sanchez S., Walsh E. (2013) Mechanical filters in Rbl2 null mice: The influence of supernumerary inner ear sensory and/or support cells. 36th ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. Baltimore, MD., 2013
  • Brunette K, McGee J, Rocha-Sanchez S, Stimmler S, Walsh E (2013) Do supernumerary sensory cells in the cochleae of Rbl2 null mice provide protection from noise-induced trauma? 36th ARO Mid- Winter Meeting. Baltimore, MD., 2013
  • Conditional Deletion of Dicer Impairs Orofacial Development. IADR/LAR General Session. Iguassu Falls, Brazil. June 20th – 23, 2012. Podium Presentation, 2012
  • Rocha-Sanchez, S.M., Miller, J.M., Barritt, L., Scheetz, L., Pierce, M.L., Soukup, G. (2012) Conditional Deletion of Dicer Impairs Orofacial Development. Abstract #19. 90th General Session & Exhibition of the IADR, Iguacu Fall, Brazil., 2012
  • Scheetz L, Mighell T, Smith L., Walsh E, McGee J., Rocha-Sanchez S.M. (2012) Lack of the Retinoblastoma Like-1 (p107) Gene Affects Organ of Corti Proliferation, Maturation and Homeostasis. 35th ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. San Diego, CA., 2012
  • Hegner E., McGee J., Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Walsh E. (2012) What Tuning Curves from Rbl2 Mutant Mice Reveal about the Influence of Supernumerary Sensory and Support Cells on the Mechanics of Inner-Ear Transduction. 35th ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. San Diego, CA., 2012
  • Cochlear Hair Cell Regeneration through Cell Cycle Manipulation. NIDCD Workshop on Regenerative therapies. Bethesda, MD. September 14, 2011. Invited Speaker, 2011
  • Quantitative Manipulation of Pocket Proteins in Cochlear Supporting Cells to mediate Hair Cell Regeneration. NIH/NICRR/UNMC/COBRE External Advisory Committee Meeting. Omaha, NE. April 1, 2011., 2011
  • Wilkinson T.G., Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Nunn M., Benn D.K. (2011) Sodium Iodide radiographic contrast to differentiate between non- and cavitated carious lesions. Abstract# 80. 62nd AAOMR. Chicago, IL. Taylor poster and presentation won 1st place., 2011
  • Rocha-Sanchez, S.M., Scheetz, L.R., Siddiqi S., Mighell T.L. (2011) Pocket Proteins’ sound off: The retinoblastoma gene family in the inner ear sensory hair cells regeneration. Abstract# 50. 2nd Rb Meeting. Toronto, ON, Canada., 2011
  • Cerutis D. R., McLaughlin M., Rocha-Sanchez S.M., McVaney T.P., Ogunleye A., Heanden K.V., and Parrish L.C. (2011) Lysophosphatidic Acid Receptors, Periodontal Disease, and Type 2 Diabetes. NMRI Midwest Regional Workshop. Omaha, NE., 2011
  • George M., Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Scheetz L., Nayak G., Legan K., Richardson G., Band H. (2011) Expression and Localization of EHD Proteins in the Mouse Cochlea. Abstract# 822. 34th ARO Mid- Winter Meeting. Baltimore, MD., 2011
  • Scheetz L., Weston M., Rocha-Sanchez S. M. (2011) Deletion of the Retinoblastoma Gene Rbl2/p130 Is Associated with Transcriptional Changes in the Expression of Mitotic-, Cell Growth-, and Differentiation Regulators in the Mouse Organ of Corti. Abstract# 843. 34th ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. Baltimore, MD., 2011
  • Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Scheetz L., Contreras M., Weston M., Korte M., Walsh E., McGee J. (2011) Mature Rbl2/p130-Deficient Mice Inner Ear Is Functional Despite the Presence of Additional Hair Cells and Supporting Cells. Abstract# 842. 34th ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. Baltimore, MD., 2011
  • Hegner E, McGee J, Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Walsh E. (2011) What Tuning Curves from Rbl2 Mutant Mice Reveal About the Influence of Supernumerary Sensory and Support Cells on the Mechanics of Inner-Ear Transduction. Abstract# 841. 34th ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. Baltimore, MD., 2011
  • Weston M., Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Pierce M., Soukup G. (2011) Increased Cochlear Inner Hair Cells in Transgenic MicroRNA-183 Family Misexpression Mice Implicate MicroRNA Mediation of HairSonia M. Rocha-Sanchez, M.S., Ph.D. Cell and Supporting Cell Proliferation, Differentiation and Survival. Abstract# 826. 34th ARO Mid- Winter Meeting. Baltimore, MD., 2011
  • Pierce M., Weston M., Jensen-Smith H., Walsh E., McGee J., Korte M., Fritzsch B, Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Soukup G. (2011) Hair Cell MicroRNA Depletion Affects Hair Cell Maintenance and Causes Progressive Hearing Loss. Abstract# 824. 34th ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. Baltimore, MD., 2011
  • Gardener K.B., Barritt L.C., Sheetz L.R., and Rocha-Sanchez S.M. (2011) Histological Analysis of Cranioskeletal Development in a Conditional Dicer Knockout Mouse. 2011 Midwest Student Biomedical Science Research Conference. Omaha, NE. Kelsey Gardner’s poster was selected for presentation at th e 47th Annual Dental Students’ Conference On Research that took place in Gaithersburg, MD this past May, 2011., 2011
  • Role of Dicer in Craniofacial Development. Department of Oral Biology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, School of Dentistry, Lincoln, NE. December 8, 2010. Invited Speaker, 2010
  • Digging Deeper in the Cell Cycle’s Pocket: The Retinoblastoma Gene Family in Auditory Hair Cells Regeneration. Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha NE. November 30, 2010. Invited Speaker at BMS 791 – Biomedical Science Seminars, 2010
  • Role of MicroRNA (miRNA) in mammalian orofacial development. 88th General Session & Exhibition of the IADR, Barcelona, Spain. July 14, 2010. Podium Presentation, 2010
  • Little siblings with a big attitude: Rbl1(p107) and Rbl2 (p130) in inner ear hair cell regeneration. 33rd ARO Mid-Winter Meeting, Anaheim, CA. February 20, 2010. Podium Presentation, 2010
  • Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Scheetz L., Weston M., McGee J., Walsh E. (2010) Little Siblings with a Big Attitude: Rbl1 (P107) and Rbl2 (P130) in Inner Ear Hair Cell Regeneration. Abstract# 13. 33rd ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. Anaheim, CA., 2010
  • Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Scheetz L., Weston M., McGee J., Walsh E. (2010) Rbl1 (p107) and Rbl2 (p130) in Inner Ear Hair Cell Regeneration. Abstract# S100. NIH, NCRR third Biennial National IDeA Symposium of Biomedical Research Excellence (NISBRE). Washington, DC., 2010
  • Pierce M., Weston M., Walsh E., McGee J., Korte M., Jensen-Smith H., Fritzsch B, Rocha-Sanchez S.M., Soukup G. (2010) Hair Cell-Specific MicroRNA Depletion Affects Hair Cell Maintenance and Causes Progressive Hearing Loss. Abstract# 590. 33rd ARO Mid-Winter Meeting. Anaheim, CA., 2010
  • Joseph M. Miller, Laura Barritt, Laura Scheetz, L. Pierce, Garrett A. Soukup, and Sonia M. Rocha- Sanchez (2010). Role of MicroRNA (miRNA) in mammalian orofacial development. Abstract #17. 88th General Session & Exhibition of the IADR, Barcelona, Spain., 2010

Research and Scholarship

Research and Scholarship Interests

  • Translational Research and Technology Transfer, Tissue Regeneration, Neuroscience, Cell and Molecular Biology, Inner Ear Physiology, Mammalian Inner Ear Development, Cell Cycle Regulation, Genetics of Complex Traits, Cytogenetics and Population Genetics

Current Research Projects

  • - Manipulation of Cell Cycle Genes to Regenerate Lost Auditory Hair Cells (R21) - miRNAs and RNA Interference Effects on Hair Cell Transdifferentiation (R15) - Development and Commercialization of Medical Devices (STTR)

Grant Funding Received

  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ NIH (Federal) R03 DC008410-01A1 Dates: 4/1/2007 – 3/31/2010 Role of Supporting Cells in Cochlear Hair Cells Regeneration. $215,250
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ UNMC/NIH (Federal) 5P20 RR018788-05 Dates: 5/1/2007 – 4/30/2008 $208,741
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ Health Future Foundation (Foundation/Association) Dates: 7/1/2008 – 6/30/2010 $40,000
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ NIH (Federal) 1R03 DC008410-01A1 Dates: 2/15/2009 – 1/31/2012 $430,500
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ NIH (Federal) 1R03 DC008410-01A1 Dates: 6/1/2009 – 5/31/2010 $36,000
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ NIH (Federal) 1R03 DC008410-01A1 Dates: 6/1/2009 – 5/31/2010 $72,250
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ UNMC/NIH (Federal) 2P20 RR018788-06A1 Dates: 9/15/2009 – 6/30/2011 $498,670
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ UNMC/NIH (Federal) 2P20 RR018788-07 Dates: 7/1/2011 – 6/30/2012 $72,250
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ State of NE-LB692 (State) Dates: 7/1/2011 – 6/30/2012 $100,000
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ NIH (Federal) 1R01 DC012340-01 Dates: 2/15/2012 2012 – 1/31/2017 $1,818,805
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ State of NE-LB692 (State) Dates: 7/1/2012 – 6/30/2013 $75,000
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ Health Future Foundation (HFF). Dates: 7/1/2012 – 6/30/2014 $40,000
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ NIH (Federal) 1R01 DC012340-01 Dates: 2/15/2013 – 1/31/2018 $1,818,805
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ State of Nebraska LB 692 Dates: 7/01/2012 – 6/30/2013 75,000
  • Oral Biology Team (Jergenson, PI). Creighton university Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Dates: 07/01/2014 1,395
  • Rocha-Sanchez, SM/ NIH (Federal) 1R21 Dates: 4/01/2015 – 3/30/2017 475,000
  • Tarang, S. (Rocha-Sanchez, SM – Mentor) HHF (Foundation) Dates: 07/01/2014 20,000
  • Weston, M (PI) Rocha- Sanchez, SM (Co-PI)/ NIH/ Academic Research Enhancement Award (Parent R15) (Federal). Dates: 9/01/2015 – 8/31/2018 436,500

Awards and Honors

  • Mammalian Hearing Protection Agent, U.S. Patent 61,828,443, 2013
  • PhD Fellowship, Brazilian Science Foundation (CNPq/CAPES), 1998