Juan José Martinez, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Washington University, 2001
B.S. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1995

Juan received his B.S. in Microbiology with Honor's Distinction from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1995. After graduation, he traveled to St. Louis, Missouri where he enrolled in the graduate training program in microbial pathogenesis in the Department of Microbiology at Washington University. Under the guidance of Professor Scott J. Hultgren, Juan studied the mechanisms by which type-1 piliated uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) bind to and enter into normally non-phagocytic bladder cells. His studies led to the identification of a fimbral tip protein, FimH, as necessary and sufficient in leading to bacterial uptake as well as the characterization of host proteins involved in the uptake process. Upon completion of his Ph.D. in 2001, Juan decided that he wanted to explore life on the other side of the ocean and began a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France under the guidance of Professor Pascale Cossart. He was awarded fellowships from the EMBO, INSERM, and INRA to begin characterizing pathogenic mechanisms of the obligate intracellular tick-borne pathogen, Rickettsia conorii, the causative agent of Mediterranean spotted fever (MSF). After almost 4 years in Paris, he decided that it was time to come back "home" to Chicago (he was born and raised in the predominately Mexican neighborhood of Little Village on Chicago's near southwest side) and was thrilled at the opportunity to join a wonderful group of scholars. Although he enjoyed the availability of fine wine, fois gras, confit de canard and other delicacies in France, he was also thrilled about coming back to some authentic home cooking, namely his mom's enchiladas de mole rojo and his dad's carne de puerco con chile verde. He joined the Department of Microbiology in October 2005.