Dr. Jessica Galloway-Peña

B.A. in Biology, Cum Laude, Our Lady of the Lake University
(San Antonio, Texas, United States) 2006

Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
(Houston, Texas, United States) 2013

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control, and Employee Health MD Anderson Cancer Center

” My studies incorporate the genetic basis of pathogenesis as well as the molecular epidemiology of clinically relevant bacterial pathogens, focusing on those with multi-drug resistance. My lab currently focuses on studying microbiome dynamics during cancer treatment and antimicrobial therapy in hospitalized patient settings in order to determine the microbiome’s impact on cancer treatment outcomes, treatment-related toxicities, and colonization/infection by antibiotic resistant organisms. Some applications of my research include determining host and microbial genetic and chemical prognostic biomarkers that can be used in the clinical setting, designing predictive risk models for antibiotic resistant infections, and promoting antimicrobial stewardship and microbial-conscious therapeutic strategies. “

Research Specialties

Bioinformatics and Genomic

Medical Genetics- Human and Animal

Microbial Genetics

How long have you been a faculty member at Texas A&M?

Just since September of 2020, I’m newfangled!

What made you choose to join the A&M faculty?

I was impressed by how large the campus is (even coming from the Texas Medical Center), the quality and breadth of the research and resources, and how much synergy there was between many of the faculty and my research interests/goals.

What makes A&M stand out above other institutions? What is the best part about being part of the Genetics program?

A&M seems to really have the students’ best interest at hand. In addition to being one of the largest and most diverse research universities in the U.S., quality education and research training of its STEM graduates is a huge priority and focus of the university. I love the interdisciplinary nature of the of the Genetics program. I’m a firm believer in collaborative science and that the best discoveries are made at the intersection of multiple fields.

How would you describe the atmosphere of the Genetics program with regard to collegiality (between students, students and faculty, faculty and faculty, etc…)?

The collegiality between faculty and ability to joke around and create a fun environment for their students while continuing to do stellar science is refreshing and gratifying.

Fun Facts:

When I am not in the lab, I am…

Spending quality time with my kids outdoors or exercising! I love running, biking, hiking, nature walks, lifting weights, and Camp Gladiator!

What is the most gratifying aspect about mentoring graduate students?

I like to be a positive influence both in the lab/classroom and outside the lab/classroom. I had some amazing research mentors during my undergrad, graduate, and post-doctoral career who made huge impacts in both my private and professional life . They really helped me through some tough times and help shaped my success and who I have become. I only hope to be able to pay that forward and mentor my students in research, career and their personal life.

Who is your famous role model?

Marie Curie…. she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice, and the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two scientific fields. Moreover, after her husband passed in a carriage accident, she continued her research for many years as head/chair of multiple institutes and departments all while being a single mom of two young children. She did all this in a time when it was frowned upon to be a woman in science. AMAZING.

Do you have any pets? If so, please tell us about them.

2 dogs and a kitty cat! Gizmo, our sable Pomeranian. Ryder, our yellow lab mix. And Astro, our orange tabby cat.