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Meet Dr. Jada Benn Torres

I am a genetic anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University. I have been a member of the department since 2016 and am currently an Associate Professor. Prior to arriving at Vanderbilt, I was in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame for seven years.

I completed my undergraduate studies with BA in Pre-professional Studies/Anthropology and Computer Applications in 1999 at the University of Notre Dame. I then earned a MS degree in 2002 followed by a doctorate in anthropology in 2006 from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.  After graduate school, I was a post-doctoral fellow for two years in the Department of Medicine, Section of Genetic Medicine at the University of Chicago. Under the tutelage of Dr. Rick Kittles, I worked on various research projects involving molecular epidemiology of prostate and colorectal cancers.

Currently, my primary research area is the Anglophone Caribbean where I explore genetic ancestry and population history of African and Indigenous Caribbean peoples. As part of this research, I have been involved with National Geographic’s Genographic Project. A second emerging area of my research combines the tools and theories of genetic epidemiology with anthropology in order to holistically examine health disparities across human populations. This work focuses on women’s health, with a specific focus on the prevalence of uterine fibroids among African American women.

Genetic Anthropology and Bio-Cultural Studies Lab Webpage