Investigator Profile: Juan R. Alvarez
Project: Measuring islet-wide Function with Soft Integrated Nanoelectronics
NIH NIDDK Emerging Leaders Recipient
*Transitioned from Postdoctoral Scholar to independent investigator January 2022.
►Where are you from originally, and where did you go to school?
I grew up in Guatemala, and went to school there and in Italy. I obtained my BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, and my PhD in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
►What is your current position?
Postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Douglas Melton at the Harvard University Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology.
►Why did you decide to become a researcher?
Because of a deep curiosity about the inner workings of life and a fascination with scientific inquiry.
►What is the “Big Picture” of what you study?
I study mechanisms driving physiological specialization, or “maturation”, of pancreatic islets, using human stem cell-derived pancreatic islet organoids as a model system. This work will be important to advance replacement therapies for insulin-dependent diabetics.
►What is your favorite aspect of your research?
Identifying important biological questions, crafting hypotheses, and testing them through experimentation.
► What do you hope to achieve with your research?
To illuminate new opportunities for behavioral, pharmacological, and cell-based diabetes therapeutics.
► What groups are you involved with?
Intersections Science Fellows Program Life Sciences Research Foundation International Society for Stem Cell Research Society for Research on Biological Rhythms Guatemaltecos Ilustres.
►When not in the lab what are your favorite hobbies/activities?
Film & music, food & wine, outreach & service, travel with family & friends, reading, swimming, skiing, chess.