Juan Mendoza grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and always had an interest in mathematics and science. In high school, he participated in the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program, a collaborative effort with Stanford University. He received a bachelor of science in Biochemistry from San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 2003.
Before completing his bachelor’s degree, Juan worked in Silicon Valley in the computational field for several years. While at SFSU, he began doing laboratory research, which also used his programming experience. During this time Juan decided to converge his passions: computers, biochemistry, and a desire to understand protein folding at a more fundamental level.
“When I was considering graduate programs, I was looking for an environment that fostered a multi-disciplinary approach to answer scientific questions. The Molecular Biophysics program here at UT Southwestern was the right choice for me to pursue my goals and interests,” Juan said. “The faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and staff create a culture of community and an environment for success.”
Juan’s dissertation project applied novel computational and biochemical approach to study the protein folding pathway of CFTR, complimenting traditional biophysical tools such as absorption spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, and circular dichroism (CD) to understand the mechanism by which misfolded proteins cause or contribute to disease, specifically with cystic fibrosis.
“We hope our findings will have a significant impact on the discovery and development of cystic fibrosis therapeutics,” he said.
Juan L. Mendoza
Computational and Systems Biology
2011 Dean’s Discretionary Award for Academic and Research Excellence at UTSW
Mentor: Philip Thomas, Ph.D.