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Juan Alvarez, Ph.D.

Juan seeks to elucidate how cells execute fate decisions during development. He joined the Melton lab in the summer of 2015 with an interest in studying the regulatory networks controlling pancreas development. Currently, he focuses on dissecting mechanisms of human islet specification and maturation, using a complement of single-cell and high-throughput experimental and computational approaches, with a view to finding ways to manipulate them to rationally engineer stem cell-derived islets for diabetes modeling and treatment.

Juan received his PhD in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied the modulation of lineage-specific cell differentiation by long non-coding RNAs, and his AB in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, where he studied the role of DNA self-catalytic depurination in site-specific mutagenesis.

Having trained many undergraduate and master’s students, Juan is devoted to undergraduate science education and mentoring.

Full bibliography

Selected research articles

Alvarez-Dominguez, J.R., Donaghey, J., Rasouli N., Kenty, J.H.R., Helman, A., Charlton J., Straubhaar, J.R., Meissner, A., and Melton, D.A. (2019). Epigenome dynamics reveal circadian control of human in vitro islet function. bioRxiv doi: 10.1101/613026

Alvarez-Dominguez, J.R.*, Knoll, M.*, Gromatzky, A.A., and Lodish, H.F. (2017). The super-enhancer derived alncRNA-EC7/Bloodlinc potentiates red blood cell development in trans. Cell reports 19, 2503–2514.

          Highlighted in: Espinosa, J.M. (2017). On the Origin of lncRNAs: Missing Link Found. Trends Genet 33, 660-662.

Alvarez-Dominguez, J.R., Zhang, X., and Hu, W. (2017). Widespread and dynamic translational control of red blood cell development. Blood 129, 619-629.

          Highlighted in: Warren, A.J. (2017). Decoding erythropoiesis. Blood 129, 544-545.

Atianand, M.K., Hu, W., Satpathy, A.T., Shen, Y., Ricci, E.P., Alvarez-Dominguez, J.R., Bhatta, A., Schattgen, S.A., McGowan, J.D., Blin, J., et al. (2016). A Long Noncoding RNA lincRNA-EPS Acts as a Transcriptional Brake to Restrain Inflammation. Cell 165, 1672-1685.

          Highlighted in: Lu, C. (2016). Curb Your Inflammation. Cell 165, 1553-1555.

Science Daily, Newswise, and 5 other news outlets.

Alvarez-Dominguez, J.R.*, Bai, Z.*, Xu, D., Yuan, B., Lo, K.A., Yoon, M.J., Lim, Y.C., Knoll, M., Slavov, N., Chen, S., et al. (2015). De Novo Reconstruction of Adipose Tissue Transcriptomes Reveals Long Non-coding RNA Regulators of Brown Adipocyte Development. Cell metabolism 21, 764-776.

          Highlighted in: Futurity (2015). RNA catalogue reveals key to brown fat.

Smith, J., Alvarez-Dominguez, J.R., Kline, N., Huynh, N., Geisler, S., Hu, W., Coller, J., and Baker, K.E. (2014). Translation of small open reading frames within unannotated RNA transcripts in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Cell reports 7, 1858-1866.

          Highlighted in: Science Daily and Biome.

Alvarez-Dominguez, J.R., Hu, W., Yuan, B., Shi, J., Park, S.S., Gromatzky, A.A., van Oudenaarden, A., and Lodish, H.F. (2014). Global discovery of erythroid long noncoding RNAs reveals novel regulators of red cell maturation. Blood 123, 570-581.

           Highlighted in: Gallagher, P.G. (2014). Long noncoding RNAs in erythropoiesis. Blood 123, 465-466.

Coetzer, T. (2014). Red Cells, RNA, and Regulation: The Plot Thickens. The Hematologist 11, 10

Alvarez-Dominguez, J.R., Amosova, O., and Fresco, J.R. (2013). Self-catalytic DNA depurination underlies human beta-globin gene mutations at codon 6 that cause anemias and thalassemias. The Journal of biological chemistry 288, 11581-11589

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