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phone: 6153435373
Garland 013


2006 Ph.D. Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
2003-05 Visiting Scholar, Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University
2004 Visiting Scholar, Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics, The Ohio State University
2001 M.S. Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
1999 B.A. Pre-professional Studies/Anthropology and Computer Applications, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

Jada Benn Torres

Associate Professor

Dr. Jada Benn Torres is a genetic anthropologist whose primary research area is the Anglophone Caribbean. She considers genetic data to enrich explorations of African diasporic and indigenous peoples experiences in the Caribbean. With a specific focus on genetic ancestry, population genetics, and population history of African and Indigenous Caribbean peoples, Dr. Benn Torres examines how contemporary genetic diversity reflects both distant and more recent past events in human history. Her work has been published in a variety of journals including the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, New Genetics and Society, PLoS One, and Human Biology. In her second area of research, Dr. Benn Torres combines the tools and theories of biological and cultural anthropology, sociology, and genetic epidemiology to investigate the dynamic relationship between identity, genetic ancestry, race, and women’s reproductive health. This work focuses primarily on understanding the factors that shape the high prevalence of uterine fibroids among African American women. Finally, throughout her research agenda, Dr. Benn Torres also tackles the paradoxical relationship between how biological and cultural researchers approach race. In this research, Dr. Benn Torres examines the various iterations of how race is indexed in social and biomedical sciences and seeks to address inconsistencies in the description and use of human biological (genetic) variation.

Dr. Benn Torres completed her undergraduate studies with a BA in Pre-professional Studies/Anthropology and Computer Applications in 1999 from the University of Notre Dame. She then received her MS degree in 2001 and Ph.D. in anthropology in 2006 from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. After graduate school, Dr. Benn Torres was a post-doctoral scholar for two years in the Department of Medicine, Section of Genetic Medicine at the University of Chicago. Under the tutelage of Dr. Rick Kittles, Dr. Benn Torres worked on various research projects involving molecular epidemiology of prostate and colorectal cancers. In 2008, she joined the faculty in the Department of Anthropology at her alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Benn Torres remained at Notre Dame for eight years prior to joining the Anthropology faculty at Vanderbilt University in 2016.