Faculty Spotlight: Jorge Torres

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To conclude the Faculty Spotlight series of our newly tenured faculty (Bouchard, Quinlan & Torres), this week’s feature focuses on Professor Jorge Torres.

Torres received his B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1998, where he conducted research under the mentorship of Dr. Eduardo Orias. He obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University in 2004 under the direction of Dr. Virginia A. Zakian. He conducted his postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Peter K. Jackson at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Genentech Inc. until 2009 when he joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA.

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Members of the Torres group (from left) Keith Cheung, Kevin Clutario, Joseph Ong, Ankur Gholkar, Prof. Jorge Torres, Mai Abdusamad, Haily Kil, and Ivan Ramirez.

The Torres lab’s major focus is to understand how multiple mechanisms and enzymatic activities coordinate the formation of the mitotic microtubule spindle during cell division. They are interested in identifying and characterizing novel proteins that are required for proper mitotic spindle assembly. Among these are molecular motors, phosphatases, methyltranferases, and ubiquitin ligases. They use human cell lines and in vitro systems along with a combination of approaches, including biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, chemical biology, and microscopy to determine the mechanism of action of these proteins.

His awards and honors include the AXE Glenn T. Seaborg Award  (2016), an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award (2014), UCLA Faculty Career Development Award (2012 and 2013), a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (2013), a Herbert Newby McCoy Award (2012), a Basil O’Connor Award from the March of Dimes Foundation (2011), and a V Scholar Award from The V Foundation for Cancer Research (2010).                                          

To learn more about Torres’ research, visit his group’s website.