Cristina Coralys Torres Caban




Biological Engineering

PhD candidate, First Year



Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Undergraduate institution

University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla Campus

What sparked your interest in your current field, and what do you love about it?

While training as a biologist during my undergrad, I was curious about how molecular processes affect cellular behavior. I then realized that this information can be manipulated to provide many applications, like the development of biological materials and tissue engineering. That’s when I decided to delve into a field in which I could grow both as a scientist and an engineer. I love that I’m able to work with a very diverse group of people, who each have different backgrounds and expertise.

Personal research summary

In the summer of 2014, I worked at the University of Minnesota where I designed and generated a degron strain (recombinant DNA) that would allow us to control protein expression. We were interested in observing how the expression of this protein affected accurate DNA replication. A summer later, in 2015, I worked at Rutgers University where I investigated the role of a microRNA in the healthspan of the nematode C. elegans muscle. In 2016, at MIT, I worked on the development of tissue-specific CRISPR/Cas9 mutants in C. elegans. These mutants would later be used as a tool to study epigenetic regulators of stem cell decisions in the worm. I am currently interested in working on how we can manipulate cells to develop 3D tissues, organoids, or biological materials.

Personal interests

I enjoy dancing, reading, traveling, and playing with my pets!