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Juan Rodriguez-Flores

  • Ph.D.
  • Postdoctoral Associate
  • Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • 1PublicationsNumber of items in Juan's My Publications folder on Mendeley.
  • 21Followers


Broadly, I am interested in learning how the human body works and applying that knowledge to the optimization of human health, including prevention and cure of disease. My training began with a BS in Biology at MIT focused on genomics biotechnology. There I worked on the Human Genome Sequencing Consortium with Leonard S. Lerman, developing a method for attachment of DNA to glass for the purpose of SNP genotyping. My undergraduate thesis with Paul Matsudaria and Mary Lou Pardue studied the retroviral evolution of the gypsy retrotransposon in drosophila cells. After MIT I went on to completed the first year of medical training at NYU, learning anatomy, physiology embryology and all aspects of human biology. However at the time (1999) I realized that computational training would be essential to my career goals. I took leave from NYU and joined the Dot Com boom in California's Silicon Valley. After working as a web designer and developer at numerous startup companies, I returned to biology as a software engineer at Neurobehavioral Research Inc. There I discovered the emerging new field of bioinformatics that combined biology, statistics and computer science to make biological discoveries and solve medical problems. I returned to Biology, working in Steven Jacobson's lab at NINDS Bethesda in the viral immunology section. After a year at the NIH developing a 4-D imaging technique for studying the immunological synapse, I began graduate studies at the UCSD Bioinformatics Graduate Program in San Diego, California. There I first completed a MS in Bioinformatics, working with Eleazar Eskin on algorithms for identifying evolutionarily disruptive amino acid substitutions. With Dr. Eskin I collaborated on a project with Dr. Daniel T. O'Connor in the medical school studying catestatin, a short vasoactive polypeptide highly-conserved in mammalian evolution. Our research on the evolution of catestatin was eventually published, including my contribution and extensive biological experiments in Dr. O'Connor's lab. This project led to a T31 NIH predoctoral fellowship, and in September 2004 I began my PhD with Dr. O'Connor, co-mentored by Dr Shankar Subramanian, head of UCSD's top-ranked Bioengineering program. My dissertation on two conserved SNPs in the PNMT promoter linked to hypertension and obesity was published in 2010, shortly after defending my dissertation in 2009. During my PhD I did experimental work, including genotyping 100's of SNPs in 14,000 people using Roche Pyrosequencing technology. During my PhD the genotyping field transitioned to high-throughput genome-wide analysis using array and sequencing technology such as the Affymetrix 5.0 Genome-Wide SNP array and the Illumina Solexa sequencer. Interested taking my skills to the next level for genome-wide analysis, while still at UCSD I worked on a project with Dr. Kelly Frazer and Dr. Karen Messer at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center, comparing the genomes of benign and aggressive chronic lymphocytic leukemia tumors. I developed algorithms for identification of mutations in RNA-seq data generated on a ABI SOLiD sequencer. I identified somatic mutations that differentiate the aggressive tumors, and presented this work at the Biology of Genomes meeting (Cold Spring Harbor, NY). During this meeting I was offered an opportunity to interview for a T32 postdoctoral training fellowship at Weill Cornell Medical College in the Department of Genetic Medicine. I accepted, and there I am now. Currently I am focused on developing high-performance and low-error methods for identifying novel SNPs in human exomes and genomes.

Recent publications

  • Conserved regulatory motifs at phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT) are disrupted by common functional genetic variation: an integrated computational/experimental approach.

    • Rodriguez-Flores J

Professional experience

Postdoctoral Associate

Weill Cornell Medical College

July 2010 - Present


PhD Bioiformatics and Systems Biology


September 2006 - June 2009(3 years)

MS Bioinformatics


September 2002 - June 2006(4 years)

BS Biology


September 1994 - June 1998(4 years)

Followers (21)

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