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Juan Dominguez

Headshot of Signature Course Professor Juan Dominguez
Course Title:
Love, Mating, and the Brain
"Signature courses lend themselves to a high level of interaction between student and faculty that may not be possible in any other arena."

Tell us about your Signature Course.

That love and mating have been topics of immense interest throughout human history is without a doubt an understatement. The central tenet of literary masterpieces, the driving force behind countless behaviors, the foundation to numerous historical events, governmental policy, indeed even the premise to some wars has been in some way related to this very topic. Yet, only relatively recently have the brain sciences provided meaningful insight into the neurological mechanisms underlying love and mating. Our course is designed to inspire students to explore the behavioral neuroscience of love and mating, to help them gain insight into how the brain, brain chemicals, hormones, and the rest of the nervous system work in synergy to modulate these behaviors.

What is your favorite part about teaching a Signature Course?

Signature courses lend themselves to a high level of interaction between student and faculty that may not be possible in any other arena. This is my favorite part of teaching signature courses. When coming into class, to meet with my signature classes, I am always eager to hear from my students and to learn from them as we discuss their personal interpretations of our readings. I am always equally excited to facilitate the type of discussions between students (of course with insight from my own understanding of the literature) that is most likely to help them appreciate and learn about the intricacies of the biopsychological systems that are responsible for the behaviors, emotions, and sensations that perhaps until now they have simply taken for granted, namely factors that regulate love and mating.

What is your #1 piece of advice for first-year students?

Make use of all the resources that are now available to you as a student at a world-class university. Utilize the technical resources that are paid for by your tuition and your taxes. At UT we have access to a multitude of databases that will help you learn about any possible topic that you might be interested in. Your professors are also a resource; engage them in discussions pertinent to your classwork. A university like ours is comprised of faculty who are world-class scholars. You will be receiving lectures from people who are renowned in a variety of topics; some of them will know a particular topic far better than anyone else in the world. Take advantage of that resource. You will gain insight that you might have never imagined. Finally, attending a top-tier research institution like ours facilitates the type of exposure to scientific research that is sure to make you a better student, a better professional, a better citizen. Why not take advantage of all these resources, and why not start as soon as you can? Start doing that now.