Last Modified: August 29, 2022

Jessica D. Hess is a first-generation Ph.D. candidate specializing in small molecule anticancer drug discovery under the mentorship of Dr. Renato J. Aguilera at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). She has also instructed undergraduate biology, microbiology, and immunology laboratory courses throughout her tenure.

She hopes to one day contribute to the development of best-in-class anticancer medicines and to help everyday people better understand complex scientific concepts.

Hess has a variety of research interests, including bioinformatics, drug discovery and development, cancer biology and science communication. In her current research, she assesses how novel compounds kill cancer cells. Under the guidance of Dr. Aguilera, she designs and conducts experiments to uncover the molecular mechanism by which these novel drugs inflict cell death.

Prior to graduate school, Hess received her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015 while gaining hospital-based healthcare experience as a patient care technician in pediatric and mental health settings.

In 2019 Hess founded her first business, Cell Kulture Co. LLC, with the intention of increasing public understanding of science through art. She has since been locally and nationally recognized for her research, entrepreneurship and support of STEM workforce diversity.

Hess is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, American Society of Cell Biology, the American Association for Cancer Research, the National Association of Science Writers and Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce’s Studio G Student Business Accelerator.

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