Torres named as 2021 Trailblazer in Engineering Fellow
Jessica E. Torres has been named as one of 34 inaugural Trailblazers in Engineering (TBE) Fellows. These are PhD students or postdocs in engineering or related disciplines at U.S. research universities, selected not only for their outstanding scholarly achievements but also for their potential impact in expanding representation and diversity in engineering.
Torres is now a PhD candidate in chemical engineering at Purdue, where, as a graduate researcher, she designed elastin-like polypeptide formulations to function as a surgical sealant; performed burst pressure testing, compression testing, swelling, and rheology on hydrogels; and created an in vitro tissue model of drug diffusion. She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemical biological engineering in 2016 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
She worked at the National University of Singapore designing organic solar cells, Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium modeling reactor flow, at a high school in Italy teaching biochemistry, at two different U.S. Department of Energy national labs, and at MIT and Purdue researching biomaterials for biomedical applications.
A member of Purdue's Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Organization, Torres formed and serves as president of the Diversity and Culture Club. She is an active teacher and mentor, and her two current undergraduate students have risen to the level of co-authorship on recent publications. She is the recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Leslie Bottorff Fellowship, and the Marilyn Forney Trailblazer Award.
Torres' research interests include protein-based biomaterials for biomedical applications. Her future research will incorporate statistical modeling to bring the power of predictive modeling to the forefront of biomedical materials design. As a faculty member, Jessica plans to utilize her experience with curriculum design and learning theory to offer her students engaging courses and projects.