Location: Barshop Institute 2049


Department of Medicine, Division of Diabetes

Juan Pablo Palavicini, PhD

Assistant Professor/Researcher

Personal Statement:

Our laboratory seeks to better understand the molecular mechanisms that drive aging, particularly brain aging, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Our ultimate goal is to participate in the development of new therapies that will empower us to live a sharper, healthier, and longer life!


2005-2011Doctor of Science (PhD)Molecular Biology and BiochemistryUniversity of Puerto RicoI graduated summa cum laude from a dual PhD program in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Puerto Rico in the lab of Dr. Joshua Rosenthal, where I studied RNA editing in cephalopods.
2004-2005Master of Science (MS)Molecular BiologyUniversity of Costa RicaI joined the Molecular Biology MS program at the University of Costa Rica in the lab of Dr. Gustavo Gutiérrez Espeleta, current chancellor. I was involved in a non-human primate population genetics study.
2000-2004Bachelor of Science (BS)Biotechnology EngineeringCosta Rican Institute of TechnologyI graduated summa cum laude (top 3 admission score and top 3 GPA) from Costa Rican Institute of Technology with a BS in Biotechnology Engineering. I was lab assistant for the Genetics and Organic Chemistry classes and worked as a lab assistant culturing orchids.


The overarching goal of the Palavicini lab is to better understand at a molecular level how specific genes, particularly those related to lipid metabolism, and environmental factors influence aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

The lab performs mechanistic pre-clinical studies on animal models using multi-faceted approaches to generate multi-omics, histological, imaging, physiological, and behavioral outcomes in a rigorous manner, following robust, well-powered, reproducible, and unbiased experimental designs.

Validating the clinical relevance of basic discoveries in human samples is a critical component of the laboratory, as ultimately, we aim to develop translational strategies to combat age-related metabolic dysfunction and cognitive decline. To this end, we partner with ongoing clinical trials to assess the effects that specific treatments against aging and/or Alzheimer’s disease may have on lipid metabolism.


Dr. Palavicini is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Diabetes, and the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

Lab Members

Eduardo Gutierrez Kuri, MS (IBMS PhD student)

Eduardo, the first PhD student to join the Palavicini Lab (Dec 2023), received his MD from Anáhuac University in Mexico City and his MS in Neuroscience from UTSA. He has been conducting research in this field for over 2 years. His research interests include neurodegenerative diseases, neuroimmunology, neuroplasticity, and molecular neuroscience.

Beyond the laboratory, Eduardo enjoys watching movies, sports, and tabletop gaming.
Juliet Garcia Rogers, BS (IBMS PhD student)

Juliet, a former UT Health Link PREP Alumnus and current PhD student, has been co-mentored by Dr. Sarah Hopp and Dr. Palavicini since 2022. Her research interests include neurodegeneration, neurodevelopment, and pharmacology.

Juliet grew up in Texas and received her BS in Biology and Psychology (Magnum Cum Laude) from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in May 2022. She enjoys spending time with her multiple cats.
Laila Scroggins (HUADAR Summer Student and Undergraduate Researcher)

Laila, the first HUADAR (Howard University Advancing Diversity in Aging Research) summer student to join the Palavicini lab (June-August 2023), is working on her Biology Major and Chemistry Minor at HU. Laila, a UNCF and TMCF scholar, continues to contribute to the Palavicini lab remotely as an undergraduate volunteer.

Laila presented her work at the 2023 Gerontological Society of America (GSA) annual meeting in Tampa, FL.
Klarisse Echevarria (VBRA Scholar)

Klarisse, the first Voelcker Biomedical Research Academy scholar to join the Palavicini lab (June 2023), is a talented high school student that will be working in the Palavicini Lab for 3 consecutive summers.