Dr. Riccardo Papa
Accepted to the Graduate Program of Washington University St. Luis - CONGRATULATIONS BRIAN!
The focus of my research centers around the population genomics of Heliconius butterflies, concentrating on the genetics underlying wing color pattern variation. Studying the population genomics of Heliconius allows us to address how natural variation can lead to extensive diversification of ecologically relevant traits. This research is conducted in collaboration with other investigators in the Heliconius community as part of a larger effort to describe the origins of evolutionary novelty.
I am investigating the invasion of the lionfish (Pterois volitans) in the Caribbean using genetics and genomic tools. As part of this study, I am developing molecular markers using Next Generation Sequencing technology to address questions of marine connectivity, to understand the mechanisms and processes affecting the architecture of the invasive populations, and to support on-going initiatives to control the invasion.
FORMER LAB MEMBERS
Graduate in biology and biomedical applications at Parma University in 2013. In MSc thesis project I studied the human fibrosarcoma cell line to highlight its invasive and angiogenic capability, using in vitro and in vivo assays. In 2014 I won a COMT fellowship (center for molecular and translational oncology) at Parma University. My research project is about the production of recombinant proteins, through plasmid DNA transfection, to produce matrix support for blood cells adhesion. These techniques are part of a project for the development of a new screening system for blood pathologies.
I have a Bachelor of Science in Cellular & Molecular Biology. In the Riccardo Papa Lab, I've worked in projects about genomic function in Heliconius butterflies and Lionfish.
Third year molecular biology student at the University of Puerto Rico. Worked on Identifying the source populations of the invasive green iguana (Iguana iguana) in Puerto Rico with Christina De Jesús. Future goals after BA degree is to complete an MD/PhD.
My name is Luis Antonio Velez Figueroa and I was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. I'm a second year biology student in the University of Puerto Rico, with the interest of going into medicine after finishing my degree. I'll be working in the mariposario for the summer.
Graduate from the Biology Faculty at Havana University in 19.. year, I worked during 12 years at Cuba Center of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and at Center for Genetic Enginering and Biotechnology, among others. Since 2000, I am a member of the UPR Rio Piedras community participating in different Molecular Biology laboratory projects, and in 2010 I finished my Master degree under Dr Rauscher advisory. In 2010 I became part of the SGF staff. As a passionate molecular biology laboratory technician with many years of experience, I am highly motivated to help support the Sequencing and Genomics Facility through the development and maintenance of different protocols for NGS platform, e.g. Illumina MiSeq. Also, in a nearby future, I would like to participate in the refinement of Biology Genetics Courses by giving students the required laboratory classes.
My research focuses on the genetic characterization of feral goats and pigs located at Mona Island. These populations will let us study small feral populations that have been unmanaged for centuries.This research is part of a CREST-CATEC funded project under the supervision of Dr. Stephan M Funk and Dr. Riccardo Papa. Currently, Papa Lab laboratory technician.
My research focuses on the sly and sneaky Green Iguana. This species is invasive in Puerto Rico and my goal is to find out the origin! I’m using genetic markers and phylogenetic techniques. I will compare Iguana iguana from its native range and from other invasive ranges (e.g. Fiji, Florida… maybe from where you live?) to Puerto Rico populations. My research has led to new and exciting collaborations with people throughout the world (the next one could be you!)
de Jesus, MS
My work is focused on the evolutionary genomics of the eye spot structure and development in the African Bush Brown Butterfly Bicyclus anynana. These butterflies exhibit a wide variety of wing eye-spot patterns, involved in predator deflection and as sexual ornaments for attracting the opposite sex. The results of this study will help us understand how these phenotypes are affected by both natural and sexual selection and, in a broader view, how selection is involved in the development of novel physiological traits.
Steven van Belleghem, PhD
I am working on genomics of adaptation and speciation in Heliconius butterflies. A general focus includes demographic analysis of mimicry and speciation using coalescence-based methods to infer population history from whole genome sequencing data. More specifically, I use hybridizing H. erato taxa to study how patterns of divergence across genomes change as populations continue to diverge and speciate. Additionally, I study genetic variation at the sex (Z) chromosome to see whether this chromosome contributes excessively to divergence in the early stages of speciation.
Laura I. Fernandez
I am completing my bachelors degree in Biology in University of Puerto Rico with interest in completing an MD after my degree. I am currently working in the Mariposario to help with the Heliconius butterfly project.
Maria A. Bencomo
"I am currently working on the importance of female choice and pupal mating in the closely related species H. erato and H. himera. I have previously studied the genetics of color pattern in Heliconius. I am generally interested in behavior, the genetics basis of behavior, and genetics of adaptive traits. I also just really like caterpillars."
I study the evolution of smell and taste receptors in Heliconius butterflies in the light of speciation. Species differ in the pheromones they produce, their repetoire for detections has to evolve with these shifts in pheromone production. I study how these receptors change between species in order to better understand evolution.