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Leila Reyes Ruiz, Ph.D.

Microbiology & Immunology


University of Chicago – Genomics and Systems Biology


Rita Tamayo, Ph.D.


I completed my BS in Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao in 2013. To gain significant research experience before graduate school, I was part of the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at the University of Chicago for 1 year. I continued to stay at UChicago, and obtained my PhD in Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biology in 2019. While in graduate school, I worked in the laboratory of Dr. Sean Crosson, where I studied how signal transduction systems regulate the production of an exopolysaccharide adhesin in the non-pathogenic bacterium Caulobacter crescentus. As a SPIRE scholar, I will be working in the laboratory of Dr. Rita Tamayo. My main project focuses in understanding the regulation of c-di-GMP levels in the pathogenic bacterium Clostridioides difficile.

As a SPIRE scholar, I am excited to obtain strong undergraduate teaching training and experience to improve my professional skills. I know it is not an easy task to succeed as a student in a STEM field but I was lucky to have support from my family and many amazing undergraduate professors. The SPIRE program will be a great resource to learn about different ways in which to create a supportive and inclusive environment for my students in the classroom.