CIE Researcher of Distinction, March 2014
Each month, the Center for Inclusive Education showcases the outstanding research
being conducted by one of our talented scholars in our Research Cafe series. In addition,
we recognize this scholar as a Researcher of Distinction and share the details of
their journey to becoming an accomplished scholar. This month's Researcher of Distinction
is Luisa Torres, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.
Luisa presented her talk, "Improving healing and recovery after spinal cord injury"
on Friday, March 14, 2014.
Luisa was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia and migrated to the United States
at the age of sixteen. She attended Oneonta High School for the 11th and 12th grade, where she spent her time learning English, familiarizing herself with a new culture, and preparing
for college. Luisa attended SUNY Albany for her undergraduate studies, where she majored in Biochemistry
and Molecular Biology. As an undergraduate, she was actively engaged in research and
felt a strong interest in creating new knowledge. She also had the opportunity to
participate in Stony Brook University’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate
(AGEP) Summer Research Institute, which motivated her to attend Stony Brook for her
Describe the work you will be presenting for your Research Café.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a debilitating condition that affects 12,000 people in
the U.S. each year. There are three phases of SCI: acute (from the time of impact
to the first few days post-injury), secondary (hours to weeks), and chronic (months
to years). Current therapies focus on the secondary and chronic phases to promote
healing and prevent further damage. However, little can be done to ameliorate the
damage that occurs during the acute phase. I am currently studying the use of combinatory
therapy to target both the acute and the chronic phase of spinal cord injury.
What was the deciding factor for you to come to Stony Brook for your graduate studies?
I was attracted by Stony Brook’s research environment, which I experienced as a participant
in the AGEP Summer Research Institute. The friendly atmosphere of the labs, the willingness
of the faculty and lab members to train and work with new students, and the wide spectrum
of research topics made me choose Stony Brook as my graduate institution.
What are your future goals?
My goal following completion of my doctoral degree is to continue my training as a
postdoctoral fellow in the area of neuroscience and ultimately obtain a position in