Celebrating the Labroots 2024 Travel Scholarship Winner: Jair Torres

03 Apr, 2024 | Laurence Tognetti, MSc

Academic conferences are fantastic ways to meet great people and build your networking portfolio. The cost of travel can be cumbersome to many students, so Labroots is proud to offer the Labroots Travel Scholarship to offset some of the expenses associated with attending a conference or travelling to carry out research. This year’s recipient is Jair Torres, a Master’s Student in Biology at California State University, Stanislaus (CSU Stanislaus), whose research is focused on examining comparative genomics of closely related finch species.

“I want to give my heartfelt thanks to Labroots for awarding me the Spring 2024 Travel Scholarship. This scholarship will allow me to attend the American Ornithological Society (AOS) conference in Colorado where I can meet likeminded ornithologists to learn from them and share my research. This award will also allow me to focus on my academic pursuits while continuing to share science with my broader community.”

Torres’ journey into genetics started as a young child, as he was often curious about how he inherited some of his parents’ physical traits and how and why certain family disorders were passed down. The genetics unit in his high school biology class provided him with the environment to ask his many questions about genetic inheritance, enabling him to follow his passion. This eventually led to an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Microbiology, followed by his current graduate path.

Torres notes how quickly his field is advancing, specifically regarding DNA sequencing technology, resulting in the supply of scientists needing to keep up with the demand for data that needs to be analyzed. Despite this, Torres remains excited about the skills he will gain using novel computational methods that he can share with the public in easy-to-understand information.

Looking ahead, Torres is excited about the future of his field. He envisions building public databases with the genome sequences that he and many other researchers are currently generating. As these genome sequencing datasets expand, so will our understanding of disease inheritance and organism adaptation. Torres is eager to contribute to this knowledge expansion in the coming years.

Regarding someone who influenced his decision to pursue computational genomics, Torres praises Dr. Jamila Newton, a Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at CSU Stanislaus. Torres notes that in addition to introducing him to the field, she also mentored him in conducting research and science communication.

Outside of research, Torres is currently involved with several clubs, including the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), Soccer Without Borders (SWB), and Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE). Torres enjoys birdwatching and computer programming in his free time and even finds time for science fiction novels, emphasizing the Dune series.

To connect with Torres and follow his career, follow him on LinkedInGithub, and his personal website.

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