Degree: B.S. in Biological Sciences
College/School: School of Environment, Arts and Society, College of Arts, Sciences & Education
When Raul Torres’ mother was pregnant with him, she developed gestational diabetes. It would eventually turn into Type II diabetes, a condition that Raul feels partially responsible for. It drove him to become a healer.
Raul learned the meaning of sacrifice and hard work from his parents who are both Cuban immigrants. His father, who earned a medical degree in Cuba, had to work in construction to provide for his family when they moved to the United States. His mom cleaned houses. Eventually, they moved to Costa Rica so his father could practice medicine. Raul spent most of his youth there, and graduated high school as the valedictorian. He made his way back to the United States for college, enrolling at FIU as a biological sciences major — the first step in his plans to become a doctor.
Under the guidance of biologist Lidia Kos, Raul, who is part of the Honors College, conducted research, determining cancerous cells can initiate metastasis without the presence of a tumor. He based his honors thesis on this and won the Robert James Smiddy Excellence in Research Award as well as the Best Thesis and Best Presentation awards. His findings are pending publication in a high-impact journal.
Raul is grateful to Kos, as well as instructor Amy Saldana for her guidance throughout his academic career. He has completed two summer research experiences – one at Johns Hopkins and another at Harvard Medical School where he will be doing a one-year post-baccalaureate after graduation.
By Ayleen Barbel Fattal
College of Arts, Sciences & Education