Institute for Molecular Engineering, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the College
Juan Mendoza’s expertise is in cancer research, bioinformatics, protein engineering, structural biology, and immunology. His research focuses on understanding basic principles of protein function relevant to human health and disease. Protein families of interest include the interferon superfamily of cytokines, which are an essential part of the innate immune system, providing protection against the spread of viral infections and cancerous growths. His work in combining newly evolved interferon cytokines with comprehensive biophysical and functional studies is providing new insights into cytokine signaling and creating new opportunities for developing promising molecules for basic research and clinical use. Further work focuses on developing computational tools to accelerate protein engineering efforts and extend our understanding of the protein sequence-structure-function paradigm to other protein superfamilies.
Mendoza received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from San Francisco State University and a doctorate in molecular biophysics with an emphasis in computational and systems biology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. As a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, his honors included a National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute Career Development Award and prestigious fellowships from the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation and the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.