Investigator Profile: Juan R. Alvarez

Assistant Professor*
University of Pennsylvania
Consortium: CHIB

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.



us on our social networks.