Accelerating Research and Science Education
Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) was established in 1941 on ranchland donated by founder Thomas Baker Slick, Jr. He believed that the future of humankind could best be served through scientific endeavor. Texas Biomed is the nation’s only nonprofit, independent research institute with the highest-level biocontainment laboratories, a national primate research center and over 80 years of experience. Located in San Antonio, Texas, Texas Biomed has engaged partners worldwide for much of its history.
With these partnerships, I●CARE researchers at both Texas Biomed and partner locations identify best practices in communities to expedite the evaluation and implementation of disease prevention and treatment strategies. By combining the power of laboratory science with site-based resources, I●CARE creates a robust infrastructure for collaborative solutions to improve human health.
In parallel, I●CARE maintains a robust infrastructure to support collaborative educational exchange programs between the Texas Biomed and international partner sites. Trainees, researchers and lab personnel seeking to learn from one another can apply for training opportunities both in San Antonio, Texas, and partner sites, supporting both laboratory research experiences and field-based research experiences. Whether learning in a lab in San Antonio or Panama or at a community health center in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas or Mozambique, participating scholars will gain practical, real-world experience.
Jordi B. Torrelles, PhD
At Texas Biomed, Dr. Jordi B. Torrelles is the Director of the International Center for the Advancement of Research & Education (I●CARE) as well as the Director of the Biosafety Level 3 (ABSL3/BSL3) Operations Program at Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed).
Dr. Torrelles obtained his PhD in 2003 in the field of tuberculosis (TB). He has a broad background in TB biochemistry, immunology and cell biology, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Since 2014, Dr. Torrelles is dedicated to improve how scientists interact focusing on understanding the needs behind building teams to tackle specific problems. He has participated in several large collaborative groups such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Grand Challenge and Consortium for TB Vaccine Discovery (CTVD), as well as the WHO Working Group for Animal model for Priority Pathogens, the Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (COVIC) and the NIH Coronavirus Innate Immunity Group, among others. Importantly, he has been a member of the Global One Health task Force at The Ohio State University (OSU), participating in scientific exchange programs, as well as the Resident Director of Studies Abroad of the OSU College of Medicine Biomedical Science Undergraduate Program.
In 2017, Dr. Torrelles became part of the Texas Biomed family, becoming the Lead of the Population Health Scientific Program in 2018 until 2023. In 2023, he left this position becoming the Director of the I●CARE.
In the context of I●CARE, Dr. Torrelles has also experience conducting international field studies to improve human and bovine TB diagnosis in high burden areas. Currently, Dr. Torrelles has collaborators in China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, and Ukraine. From these established collaborations evaluating point-of-care TB diagnostic tests, Dr. Torrelles has several publications and funding.
In another context, Dr. Torrelles is interested in studying how the process of aging, HIV infection and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, alter the lung environment, in particular the innate function of the lung mucosa, driving people’s susceptibility to acute and chronic respiratory infections and progression to disease.
Juan Ignacio Garcia, MS, PhD
At Texas Biomed, Dr. Juan I. Garcia is the operations manager of the International Center for the Advancement of Research & Education (I●CARE) as well as a postdoctoral scientist in the Population Health program, TB group.
Dr. Juan I. Garcia has a broad background in TB biochemistry, immunology, and diagnostics and therapeutics. In 2011, he did a MS in Control of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to extend his professional career combining his laboratory research expertise with implementation research in infectious diseases epidemiology.
He has contributed to strengthen a “One Stop” health care delivery model for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV for vulnerable populations such as females sex workers (FSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM) in Escuintla Department, Guatemala. In addition, he worked as a study coordinator in a community-based, active TB case finding study (TB-REACH) in southern Mozambique. Dr. Juan I. Garcia obtained his PhD in 2020 in clinical epidemiology and health systems research in STIs, HIV and TB using data from his fieldwork studies in Guatemala and Mozambique.
In the context of I●CARE, Dr. Juan I. Garcia has experience in implementation research studies to improve human TB diagnosis in high burden areas. He works closely with Dr. Torrelles and his collaborators in China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, and Ukraine.
Dr. Juan I. Garcia aims to contribute to tackle infectious diseases under the principles of social justice and universal health coverage and win the fight against infectious diseases of poverty.