Dr. Karl Rodriguez is a new faculty in the Department of Cell Systems and Anatomy and alumnus of the Molecular Medicine Ph.D. program.
1) Please tell me about yourself.
While I wasn’t born in San Antonio, I am a San Antonio native, having gone to grade, middle, and high school here. I went away for university, but came back for graduate school and postdoctoral training.
2) What brought you to UT Health San Antonio?
I have decided to stay at UT Health San Antonio because of the Barshop Institute with its Nathan Shock and Pepper Centers and the strong leadership under Dr. Nicolas Musi.
3) Tell me about your research interests and why you are passionate about this topic?
My long-term research goal is to understand the role of molecular chaperones in protein homeostasis and better understand how protein homeostasis influences longevity. I am passionate about this topic because the interaction of chaperones and what client proteins they regulate is a black-box in the field. We have some ideas, but they only touch on the surface of the potential mechanisms.
4) What do you want the public to know about your research? Why is your topic important?
What I study (Molecular Chaperones and Aging) leads to age-associated diseases and conditions that we do not know how to stop or prevent.
5) What is your favorite part of your job?
Discovery by myself or my trainees and employees. I don’t think I will ever tire of the excitement of getting data that supports your hypothesis.
6) What is the most challenging part of your job?
Dealing with bureaucracy. There’s a lot of paperwork in the background to running a lab. It would be fun to just sit at the bench or desk, do science, analyze your data, and write papers and grants.
7) What do you like most about mentoring students?
Bouncing news ideas off of one another and talking science just because.
8) How do you like to spend your free time?
Reading history, historical fiction or sci-fi.
9) What is the most helpful advice you’ve received?
Not to stress on getting scooped. It’s going to happen. Just keep focusing on your work and things will just fall into place.
10) When did you start becoming interested in science?
Working in my father’s lab at UTSA.
11) Growing up, what did you want to be?
12) Who has influenced you the most in life?
My mother. She definitely espoused a philosophy of never giving up that was instilled on me.
13) If you were stranded on a deserted island, what one band or musician would help keep your sanity?
14) What do you consider your favorite hobby?
15) What is your favorite quote?
“It was actually happening. The nerd was kissing the homecoming queen. Paper was beating scissors; scissors were beating rock. Charlie Brown was kicking the football. The Red Sox were beating the Yankees for the American League pennant.” –Tyler Kepner, NYTimes sportswriter as the Red Sox took an 8-1 lead in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS
16) If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be?
There are so many…but one that encompasses science, art, and history who was ahead of this time….Leonardo DaVinci
17) If you won the lottery, what would you do?
Start my own foundation to fund aging research.
18) If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
19) If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
20) Which authors or books have influenced you the most?
Golden Age Sci-fi (Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Herbert, etc).
21) Tell us something about yourself that otherwise we wouldn’t know or guess.
Karl likes Salsa music as well as hard rock/metal.
This article is part of the “Faculty Spotlight” series which showcases faculty at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.