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Jessica Dominguez Rieg, PhD

School of Naturopathic Medicine
Department of Basic Sciences

Current Roles

Dr. Rieg is an assistant professor of physiology in the Department of Basic Sciences and Associate Director of the Center for Student Research at Bastyr University California.


  • BS in Veterinary Science from University of Arizona in 2001
  • MS in Physiological Sciences from University of Arizona in 2004
  • PhD in Physiological Sciences from University of Arizona in 2006
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in critical illness/surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Affiliations and Awards

  • American Physiological Society member
  • West Coast Salt & Water Club (an epithelial cell research group) member
  • Shock Society member
  • 2011 American Physiological Society Dale J. Benos Early Career Professional Service Award for excellence in mentorship, leadership and outreach.

Past Experience

Dr. Dominguez Rieg was an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver before moving to San Diego. She has taught anatomy and physiology to undergraduate and medical students. 

Teaching and Research Interests

As a translational physiologist, Dr. Dominguez Rieg’s is interested in how the body functions from the subcellular level up to the integration of biological systems in the whole organism. As a basic scientist, she is specifically interested in mechanisms underlying the body’s response to critical illness and the use of probiotics to mediate protection in the intestine.


Dr. Dominguez Rieg’s teaching philosophy stems from the desire to help students reach “eureka!” moments by deconstructing and relating the material to real life until it is understood conceptually. She strives to create an interactive learning environment in which students can tap into their own knowledge base to learn difficult concepts. She is passionate about working with clinicians to teach students in about the fundamentals of physiology using a systems-based approach, with a focus on natural healing and whole-person medicine.

Current Research

The small intestine is the major site for nutrient absorption and delivery of dietary sugars to systemic circulation and plays a crucial role in blood glucose control. Leptin, a key hormone involved in energy homeostasis has been shown to directly affect nutrient transport across the intestinal epithelium. My current research involves studying the role of leptin signaling in regulation of the intestinal sodium-glucose transporter-1 (SGLT-1) in murine models of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Our hypothesis is that leptin-induced downregulation of SGLT-1 is mediated by the short form of the leptin receptor, LEPRa. We utilize catestatin, a 20-amino acid fragment of chromogranin A, which has been shown to alter leptin signaling, to test this hypothesis and try to better understand the signaling mechanisms involved. These studies are important because they will help to explain how the body prevents overt hyperglycemia under diabetic conditions where hyperleptinemia is present.


Jessica Dominguez Rieg, PhD
Jessica Dominguez Rieg, PhD