Staff Profile: Natalia Martinez

Natalia J. Martinez, Ph.D.
Natalia J. Martinez, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Biology (Contractor)

Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

National Institutes of Health

Email Natalia J. Martinez


Natalia J. Martinez joined NCATS in the summer of 2013 as a research scientist in biology. She collaborates on projects with academia and the private sector throughout the translational science landscape. Before joining NCATS, Martinez was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Richard I. Gregory, Ph.D., at the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital. She studied how small regulatory RNAs are generated, how they exert their gene regulatory function, and their role in the self-renewal and pluripotency of embryonic stem cells.

Martinez earned her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she was mentored by A. J. Marian Walhout, Ph.D., in the Program of Gene Function and Expression. She contributed to the development and implementation of high-throughput yeast-one hybrid assays to map, characterize and validate genome-scale microRNA regulatory networks.

Martinez received her B.S. in biotechnology from the Universidad Nacional de Quilmes in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she worked in the area of biotransformations using Escherichia coli as a microbial catalyst to synthesize modified nucleosides for antiviral therapy applications. She also gained experience in cancer research, investigating the genetics of acute myeloid leukemia in mouse models.

Research Topics

Martinez enjoys developing and implementing physiologically relevant assay platforms applicable to diverse disease pathologies and conditions, with the ultimate goal of identifying probes with therapeutic potential. She currently collaborates on projects in the following research areas:

  • Oncology: gliomas and drug repurposing in pediatric cancer
  • Antivirals (broad spectrum and influenza A)
  • Antipsychotics
  • Mitochondrial disorders
  • Lysosomal storage disorders (ML4 and NPC)
  • Neuropathies (CMT1A)
  • Metabolic disorders

Martinez’s other long-standing research interests include epigenetics and stem cell biology.

Selected Publications

  1. A widely-applicable high-throughput cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA) using split Nano Luciferase.
  2. Discovery of Orally Bioavailable, Quinoline-Based Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1A1 (ALDH1A1) Inhibitors with Potent Cellular Activity.
  3. Quantitative high-throughput phenotypic screening of pediatric cancer cell lines identifies multiple opportunities for drug repurposing.
  4. Assessing inhibitors of mutant isocitrate dehydrogenase using a suite of pre-clinical discovery assays.
  5. A High-Content Assay Enables the Automated Screening and Identification of Small Molecules with Specific ALDH1A1-Inhibitory Activity.