Dr. Jorge Cruz-Reyes Laboratory
Entrance year: 2017
Hometown: Spring, TX
“I study proteins which control RNA editing, a unique way of processing mRNAs in the mammalian parasite T. brucei. Since RNA editing is essential for the parasites, these proteins make good candidates as new drug targets. By looking at how protein interaction, RNA structure remodeling, and developmental regulation effect this process I hope to find insights into the early evolution of eukaryotic gene regulation and novel therapeutic targets.”
RNA metabolism in parasites
Why did you choose the Genetics PhD program at A&M?
My favorite courses in my undergraduate Biology program were genetics and molecular biology. I had originally started in Biology as a pre-med student but once I started working in research labs I liked that work a lot more than clinicals. I decided to come to Texas A&M because it was closer to my family in Houston, centrally located to other big cities in Texas, and had lots of great facilities and faculty to work with.
What is at least one big lesson you have learned in the Genetics graduate program that you think is widely applicable to your future pursuits?
One thing that immediately became apparent after joining the program is that patience is essential. I had no idea how many times my experiments would not work or a hypothesis wouldn’t be fully flushed out. The mentality I’ve developed after my first few years are to be patient, be determined, and expect to fail a lot but know how to move on from it. Eventually, things I couldn’t get to work a single time became routine, but I had to be able to work through the many failures to get there.
What would be your dream job after graduation from the program?
I would love to continue doing research with neglected pathogens at a medical school or with the CDC. Anything that would give me a chance to contribute to some of the biggest global health crises we face now while also allowing me to have a family.
Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what are they.
I’m a big fan of cooking and have gotten very good at it by working odd jobs in kitchens during college and high school. Since starting graduate school, I’ve also picked up gardening which has turned out to be pretty successful so far. Lastly, I’m partially ambidextrous with my left hand being more dominant than my right for most things. I can pipette with both hands at the same time, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to help you get your PhD faster.
Do you have any pets? If so, please tell us about them.
Yes, I have a big German Shepard-mix puppy named Oliver. He’s energetic and talkative but also very clumsy so he is constantly knocking things off of tables or falling over when playing with my roommate’s dog Hershey. When he’s not causing mayhem, he’s usually curled up on the couch sleeping. My childhood dog, Penny, is also still around living with my parents in Houston. She doesn’t get up to much anymore since she’s so old; she’ll be turning 15 in a few months!