The Greenbaum Laboratory is fully equipped for evolutionary genetics projects, including a freezer for long-term storage of valuable tissues (with emergency power backup), thermocyclers for PCR, centrifuge and electrophoresis equipment, and a Bio-Rad Gel Doc XR visualizer. DNA sequencing is done "in house" in the DNA Sequencing Core Facility in the adjacent Biosciences Building. The UTEP collection of amphibians and reptiles from Burundi, DR Congo and Uganda includes approximately 10,000 specimens.
Prospective Ph.D. and M.S. students are encouraged to E-MAIL me with a Curriculum Vitae. I am happy to consider students interested in systematics and biogeography of vertebrates in Central Africa or the southwestern United States and Mexico. Proposals related to behavior, ecology or conservation will also be considered. Shown below are students currently active in the lab, and those who have moved on to great things.
New doctoral student Michael Buontempo (2019–present) joins the Greenbaum lab from Newport News, Virginia. His dissertation will definitely be focused on snakes, and he is starting with a project on the genus Philothamnus.
Undergraduate student Jesus Reyes (2017–2019) completed a major databasing project for the lab, including sequencing scores of samples of amphibians and reptiles from Kahuzi-Biega National Park in eastern DR Congo. After graduating in 2019, he started an internship at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
Doctoral student Gene Vaughan (2018–present) joined the lab after completing a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Cal Tech. His dissertation will be focused on phylogeography of forest vipers (Bitis) in Central Africa.
Doctoral candidate Mark Teshera (2016–present) joined the lab after completing a Master's degree at California State University, San Marcos, where he studied American black bears. Mark is studying behavior of rattlesnakes (Crotalus) for his dissertation.
Undergraduate Aaron Robbins (2016–present) is working on a barcoding project with amphibians to help identify hundreds of specimens from recent expeditions to DR Congo and Uganda. Below is an unknown species of Leptopelis.
Undergraduate Morgan Newton (2016–present) is working on a barcoding project with snakes to help identify hundreds of specimens from recent expeditions to DR Congo and Uganda. Below is an unknown species of Letheobia.
Undergraduate Waleeja Rashid (2013–2017) worked on a collaborative project with burrowing skinks in the genus Melanoseps. Below is a high-resolution x-ray computer tomography image of a specimen from eastern DR Congo. In 2017, Waleeja became a medical student at Ross Medical School- congrats!
Undergraduate Samantha Stewart (2013–2015) worked on several projects with Central African geckos, including the poorly known species Hemidactylus ituriensis, shown at right. She graduated in 2015 and is currently a vet student at Oklahoma State University.
Ph.D. student Danny Hughes (2013-2018) came all the way from Pennsylvania to work on a dissertation focused on chameleons of the Albertine Rift. His first major publication about neuroanatomy of chameleons was published in PLoS ONE in 2016. He recently started a postdoc in Illinois, and will be working with frogs in California.
J. Adan Lara
Master's student J. Adan Lara (2013-2016) defended his thesis on phylogeography of the Natal Puddle Frog (Phrynobatrachus natalensis) in sub-Saharan Africa on 5 May 2016. Additional samples are being analyzed for future publication. Adan is currently teaching at a local community college.
Master's student Thornton Larson (2012-2015) completed a thesis project with frogs in the genus Amietia, which was started by Delilah Castro. His work was published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution in 2016.
Congratulations to Thor for being a 2015 recipient of the Fulbright US Student Program to work on amphibian conservation in Indonesia! Click here for a summary of the project. Thor is now in a Ph.D. program at UT Arlington.
Fernanda "Fernie" Medina
Master's student Fernanda "Fernie" Medina (2013-2015) completed her thesis project with African skinks in the genera Afroablepharus/Panaspis. This major undertaking is a continuation of a project she started as an undergraduate researcher in my lab. Her work was published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution in 2016. Fernie is now working for a vet in Austin, TX.
Master's student Frank Portillo (2010-2012) completed a thesis on the systematics of Leptopelis treefrogs from the Itombwe Plateau of eastern Congo. He is a coauthor on a published paper about Leptopelis fiziensis, two first-authored species descriptions were published in 2014 (Leptopelis anebos is shown below), and a major first-authored phylogenetic analysis of Leptopelis from the Albertine Rift was published in 2015. Frank completed a dissertation on atractaspidine & aparallactine snake systematics in 2017, and many publications are in the pipeline from his outstanding work. Frank is currently teaching at a local community college.
In November 2011, M.S. student Chris Anderson (2009-2011) defended his thesis, "Phylogeography of northern populations of the black-tailed rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus Baird and Girard, 1853), with the revalidation of C. ornatus Hallowell, 1854". Chris was awarded the 2011 Outstanding Master's Thesis in Biology for his work, which was published in Herpetological Monographs in 2012. His photograph was featured on the cover. Chris is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico.
On 18 November 2010, Katrina Dash (formerly Katrina Weber, 2008-2010) defended her thesis, "Systematics of the genus Ptychadena Boulenger, 1917 (Anura: Ptychadenidae) from Democratic Republic of the Congo." Katrina was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Master's Thesis in Biology for her work. Her work was published in a collaborative study in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution in 2016.
Undergraduate student Nancy Conkey (2010-2013) completed work on a major project about the evolutionary genetics of the African toad genus Sclerophrys, and she assisted with the Afrixalus project as well. She is now in vet school in Tennessee.
Rachel "Soraya" Romero
Undergraduate student Rachel Romero (2011-2012) completed a project with Afrixalus treefrogs. The project is nearing completion with several colleagues' participation. She currently lives in Silver City and produces the Podcast Wild Roots, which interviewed me in spring 2019- listen to the podcast HERE.
Undergraduate student Cesar Barron (2009-2011) completed a project on forest cobras in the genus Naja. A collaborative manuscript on the systematics of cobras will be submitted soon. Cesar is currently pursuing a medical degree.
Undergraduate student Delilah Castro (2010) completed a project on the phylogeny of frogs in the genus Amietia. Master's student Thornton Larson expanded her work, which was published in 2016. Delilah is currently working as a health inspector in Salem, MA.
Undergraduate student Cesar Villanueva (2008-2010) completed a major project on the systematics of Central African lacertid lizards. He is a coauthor on a paper describing a new genus and species (Congolacerta asukului photo at right) of lacertid from the Itombwe highlands of Congo. He is currently working on his MBA at UTEP.
Undergraduate student Federico Valdez (2009-2010) completed a project on the phylogeography of Peruvian geckos, and is a coauthor on a published paper on Hyperolius castaneus phylogeography. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at UTEP with advisor Dr. Manuel Llano, with a focus on HIV and the immune system.