Investigator Profile: Juan Domínguez-Bendala
Juan Domínguez-Bendala, PhD
►Where are you from originally, and where did you go to school?
I hail from Sevilla, Spain. I got my BSc in Biology at the University of Sevilla, and then completed my graduate education with an MSc in London (UCL) and a PhD at the Roslin Institute/University of Edinburgh.
►What is your current position?
I am Research Associate Professor of Surgery (primary) and Cell Biology (secondary). I am the director of the Stem Cell & Pancreatic Development lab at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), University of Miami. I am also the chair of the university of Miami ESCRO.
►Why did you decide to become a researcher?
Biology was always my favorite subject growing up. The excitement of finding paramecia in rain water with my toy microscope, or reading the adventures of van Leewenhoek and Koch in “microbe hunters” are fond memories from my childhood. In my early teens I read in a magazine about a group of Scottish scientists who had created a transgenic sheep from whose milk you could extract a human therapeutic protein. I made up my mind in that exact
moment that I wanted to be a molecular biologist. As chance would have it, I ended up doing my doctoral work with those very same scientists, at the exact time they cloned Dolly the sheep.
►What is the “Big Picture” of what you study?
Restoring the beta cell mass in T1D patients is one of the two pillars of a future cure for this devastating disease. All our research is focused exclusively on that goal.
►What is your favorite aspect of your research?
When massive sets of data, seemingly incoherent at first, start making sense.
► What do you hope to achieve with your research?
Our mission is to find a cure for T1D. The immediate goal is to take our approaches for the induction of endogenous regeneration to the clinic.
► What groups are you involved with?
American Diabetes Association, nPOD, HIRN
►When not in the lab what are your favorite hobbies/activities?
I used to play classical piano and write fiction. My first novel was the finalist of one of the top international literary awards in Spanish. But with two small kids taking all my spare time now, hobbies are a thing of the past. I barely manage to play a couple of hours of soccer or basketball