This month’s Student Corner highlights Jaime Reyes in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Learn more about his passion for science and why he chose Baylor College of Medicine.
Which lab are you in, and what does your research focus on?
I am in Dr. Peggy Goodell’s lab. My research primarily focuses on hematopoietic stem cell aging. I use computational biology to investigate the processes that cause stem cells to age with the hope that some of those processes can be prevented, reversed or treated more effectively.
How did you become interested in research, and how did you pick Baylor for your graduate education?
I first became interested in research after my grandfather passed away from cancer while I was a senior in high school. I took on a research position as an undergraduate assistant in a lab that studies aging. I became obsessed with the constant problem-solving required in research. After graduation, I shifted toward computational biology, studying the effects of cancer therapeutics on transcription.
When considering graduate schools, I chose Baylor because of the strong emphasis on cutting-edge approaches to research, specifically a push for genomic and epigenomic technologies. Additionally, my department (Molecular and Human Genetics) offered courses tailored toward bioinformatics and genomics. It was a perfect fit for my research interests and educational aims.
What do you plan/hope to do after graduation?
I hope to continue working as a postdoc applying computational biology techniques to aging and hematology, although that is largely still up in the air.
You recently receive a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship. What does it mean to receive this award?
Receiving this award is immensely humbling and exciting. The Gilliam Fellowship is intended to promote diverse leadership in scientific research by supporting graduate researchers from underrepresented groups. Through BCM’s Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity, my colleagues and I have had the opportunity to reach out to local schools and work with students to show them what basic research is about. Growing up, I did not envision a career as a scientist in part because I did not know what a scientist did. HHMI, through the Gilliam Fellowship, encourages diversity by training and educating the next generation of potential scientists. I hope to apply the opportunities provided by HHMI through the Gilliam Fellowship to further expand community outreach and education.
Anything else you want to add?
I’m from El Paso, Texas, so the icing on the cake for choosing BCM was proximity to Whataburger and awesome taco trucks!