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Tovar, Ruben U.

Ruben Tovar

Ph.D. student in David Hillis lab studying the evolutionary developmental biology of subterranean salamanders from Texas

I received my B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington, and participated in a systematic and phylogenetics lab. I received a Master's of Science in Biology from Texas State University, where I initiated my research on evolution and developmental biology of ocualr reduction.   

As an undergraduate I worked closely with a Ph.D. candidate focusing on the systematics and chemosensory behavior of the Dipsadini snake tribe. During my M.S. I collaborated with the San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center, where I explored Pax6 and Shh labeling between the Texas blind salamander (Eurycea rathbuni) and Barton Spring salamander (Eurycea sosorum) using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. I now aim to use a number of molecular (RNA-seq), and imaging (Dice-CT) techniques to understand the evolutionary developmental biology of repeated eye loss in the central Texas Eurycea salamander clade.