C.V.

Ruben U. Tovar

Curriculum Vitae

Personal

            Name:                         Ruben Uranga Tovar

Place of Birth:             San Antonio, Texas

Contact Information:   Email: rut676@utulsa.edu

Phone: (210) 269-7611

 

Education

2015-Present: Ph.D. Biological Science, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma. SREB Fellow (Southern Region Education Board−State Doctoral Scholars Program).

2011-2014: M.S. Biology, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas. Developmental Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology.

2005-2010: B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies, Minor in Biological Science The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas.

 Research Experience (Laboratory)

2011-Present      Performed specimen preparation for sectioning using a cryotome, and imagining using various microscopy techniques including; Differential Interference Contrast (DIC), and Confocal Microscopy (via immunohistochemistry). Texas State University, San Marcos, TX.

2011                   Performed embryo extractions, and in-situ hybridization as a directed independent research project supervised by Dr. Andre Pires da Silva and Ph.D. candidate Chad Watkins on the expression of hox genes regulating limb development in Anolis carolinensis. University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington,TX.

2008-2011          Performed DNA isolation/extraction, PCR gene amplification, gel electrophoresis and sequence editing as a directed independent research project supervised by Dr. Eric Smith on the phylogenetic systematics of neotropical coral snakes of the Micrurus bicolorgroup. University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX.

2009-2010          Performed studies testing chemosensory prey preference and prey recognition in several species of neotropical snail-eating snakes of the subfamily Dipsadinae in collaboration with doctoral student Coleman Sheehy III. University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX.

Museum Experience

2005-Present        Research member, Reptile and Amphibian Diversity Research Center. Assist in the identification, tagging, cataloguing, preparation and preservation of specimens for the museum collection. The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX.

Publications

  • Tovar, R.U. 2013. Eurycea rathbuni, Herpetologists’ League 2014 Calendar. Private Picture Collection. Herpetologists’ League 2014 Calendar.
  • Hutchins, B.T., R.U. Tovar, B.F. Schwartz. 2013. New records of stygobionts from the Edwards Aquifer of central Texas. Speleobiology Notes. 5: 14-18.
  • Tovar, R.U., V.J. Solis. 2012. Eurycea rathbuni. Habitat. Herpetological Review. 44 (1): 116-117.
  • Cox, C.L., M.A. Moseley, P.N. Pasichnyk, R.U. Tovar, U. Smart, T. Angarita-Sierra. 2012. New County Records for Reptiles and Amphibians from South and Southeast Texas. Herpetological Review. 43 (2): 21-22.
  • Streicher, J.W., Cox, C.L., Sheehy III, C.M., Ingrasci, M.J., and R.U. Tovar. 2011. Pseudoleptodeira uribei. Reproduction. Herpetological Review. 42 (1): 101.
  • Sheehy, C.M, J.W. Streicher, C.L. Cox, R.U. Tovar, J. Reyes-Velasco. Dipsas gaigeae. Reproduction. Herpetological Review. 43 (2): 342-343.

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  • Tovar, R.U.,César L. Barrio-Amorós, Chris Parkinson, Juan Daza, Eric Smith. Systematic Analysis of the Bicolor Coral Snake Complex. Target Journal: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (In prep.).
  • Sheehy, C.M, and R.U. Tovar. Chemosensory food recognition in three genera of Neotropical gastropod-eating snakes (Dipsas, Sibon, and Tropidodipsas: Colubridae: Dipsadinae). Journal of Herpetology (In review.).
  • Tovar, R.U., D.M. Garcia, B.P. Fremaux. Ocular histology of three south central Texas salamander species: Eurycea rathbuni, Eurycea nana, and Eurycea sosorum. Journal of Morphology (In prep.).

 Awards and Honors

2015     Student Research Grant, The University of Tulsa-$500

2015     Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund: The discovery of novel eye developmental genes in a stygobitic salamander system using transcriptome-wide analysis-$3,250 (Awarded, April 23, 2015)

2015    3rd place-Texas Academy of Science, Graduate Student Competition Presentation, Incarnate Word University, San Antonio, TX: Crossing to the dark side: convergent evolution in the development of a vestigial eye. $100 (March 6, 2015)

2014                Colene Drace Cell Biology Award, Texas State University $500

2014                Thesis Research Support Fellowship, Texas State University $2,000 (Awarded Fall of 2013)

2013                South Texas Herpetological Association Travel Award, ARVO/ISOCB Ocular Cell Biology (Ocular histology of three south central Texas paedomorphic salamander species; a novel system for the study of evolutionary biology) $500

2013                ARVO, Welcome Trust (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology), Oxford, United Kingdom (Ocular histology of three south central Texas paedomorphic salamander species; a novel system for the study of evolutionary biology) $900

2013                Rising Star Travel Grant, Texas State University $500

2013                Herpetologists’ League: 2013 Jones-Lovich in Southwestern Herpetology Award $1,000

2013                Southwestern Association of Naturalist (SWAN), Howard McCarley Student Research Award $1,000

2011                South Texas Herpetology Association Grant $500

2011                East Texas Herpetology Society Research Grant $200

2011                I Mentor Research Scholarship (The phylogeny of the bicolor coral snakes.) $1,000

2011                Undergraduate Minority Biology Research Award $250

2011                ACES Poster Undergraduate Sustainability Award $200

2010                I Mentor Research Scholarship (Chemosensory prey preferences in the snail eating snake tribe Dipsadini) $1,000

2005                South Texas Herpetological Association Scholarship $500

2004                Awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America (Troop 940)

Professional and Academic Presentations

2016                Invited symposium speaker for the 23rd International Society on Subterranean Biology Conference, “Cave Animals at the Frontiers of Modern Biology”, Crossing to the Dark Side: The South Central Texas Eurycea Clade as a Novel Subterranean Model System for the Study of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR (to be given, June 13-17, 2016)

2015                Guest lecturer for Dr. Ben Peirce (Upper level Evolution class) at Southwestern University, Georgetown TX: ‪Crossing to the Dark Side: The South Central Texas Eurycea Clade as a Novel Subterranean Model System for the Study of Evolutionary Developmental Biology. (April 10, 2015)

2015                Texas Academy of Science, Graduate Student Competition Presentation, Incarnate Word University, San Antonio, TX: Crossing to the dark side: convergent evolution in the development of a vestigial eye. (March 6, 2015)

2015                Central Texas Eurycea Symposium, Southwestern University, Georgetown TX: “All roads lead to Rome” in the development of a vestigial eye: Convergent evolution between Eurycea rathbuni and Astyanax mexicanus. (January 9, 2015)

2014                SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Science). Convergent Evolution in the Development of a Vestigial Eye. (Oct. 16, 2014)

2014                Texas Herpetological Society’s 2014 Fall Symposium: Convergent evolution in the development of vestigial eyes. (Poster presentation given Oct.8, 2014)

2014                University of Texas at Austin, Invited speaker for Pop. Bio. Seminar: Shedding light on a subterranean alien: an investigation of eye reduction in the south central Texas Eurycea clade. (Oct. 6, 2014)

2014                Evolution Conference, Raleigh, North Carolina: “All roads lead to Rome” in the development of a vestigial eye: Convergent evolution between Eurycea rathbuni and Astyanax mexicanus. (June 20-24)

2014                Texas State Biology Colloquium: “All roads lead to Rome” in the development of a vestigial eye: Convergent evolution between Eurycea rathbuni and Astyanax mexicanus. (April 22, 2014)

2014                STEM TED Talks Part 2-General Session: Shedding Light on a Subterranean Alien. (March 27, 2014)

2014                SICB (Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology): Ocular histology of three south central Texas Eurycea, a novel system for the study of evolutionary developmental biology. (Jan. 3-7, 2013)

2013                WISE (Women In Science and Engineering) Conference poster presentation: Development and Staging of two paedomorphic salamander sister species: Eurycea rathbuni and Eurycea sosorum. (Nov. 22, 2013)

2013                International Research Conference: Shedding Light on a Subterranean Alien: An Investigation of Eye Reduction in the Texas Blind Salamander and Two Closely Related Species. (Nov. 7, 2013)

2013                Texas Herpetological Society’s 2013 Fall Symposium: Shedding Light on a Subterranean Alien: An Investigation of Eye Reduction in the Texas Blind Salamander and Two Closely Related Species. (Given Oct.12, 2013)

2013                University of Oxford, ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) /ISOCB Ocular Cell Biology Conference, Stem Cell and Development category: Ocular histology of three south central Texas paedomorphic salamander species; a novel system for the study of evolutionary biology.

2013                Sheehy III*, C.M. and R.U. Tovar. Chemosensory prey preference and feeding behavior in Neotropical gastropod-eating snakes (Colubridae:Dipsadini). 36th Annual Herpetology Conference. Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, Florida. Honorable Mention for best overall oral presentation. (Presented by Coleman Sheehy III)

2013                Texas State University, Biology Colloquium poster presentation:Comparative ocular histology of three endemic paedomorphic salamander species (Eurycea nana, E. sosorum, and E. rathbuni)

2013                Texas State University, HSI Research Symposium poster presentation (Category A- Hispanic Student Involved in Research): Comparative ocular histology of three endemic paedomorphic salamander species (Eurycea nana, E. sosorum, and E. rathbuni)

2012                Texas State University, WISE poster presentation: Natural History Note of an Endemic Troglobite: The Texas Blind Salamander (Eurycea rathbuni)

2011                South Texas Herpetological Association invited speaker: Shedding Light on a   Subterranean Alien: An Investigation of Eye Reduction in the Texas Blind Salamander.

2011                Texas State University, International Research Conference for Graduate Students lecture presentation:Chemosensory Prey Preferences in the Snail Eating Snake Tribe Dipsadini.

2011                University of Texas at Arlington, ACES poster presentation: Chemosensory Prey Preferences in the Snail Eating Snake Tribe Dipsadini.(Sustainability award)

 Field Research

 2013-Present   Texas. Collect and transport San Marcos salamanders (Eurycea nana) and Texas blind salamanders (Eurycea rathbuni) for the U.S. Fish Hatchery and Technology Center, San Marcos, TX. Collected from San Marcos River headwaters, Rattle Snake Cave, Sessom Creek, and Texas State University well. Used for research and education purposes at the San Marcos National Fish Hatchery, Aquatic Research Center.

2010                Guatemala. Collected and preserved reptiles and amphibian specimens and tissue samples for two weeks in numerous departments throughout the country. Fully funded by NSF grant: “Phylogeny of New and Old World Venomous Coralsnakes” awarded to Dr. Eric Smith at The University of Texas at Arlington.

2009                Mexico. Collected and preserved reptiles and amphibian specimens and tissue samples for two months in numerous states throughout the country. Fully funded by NSF grant: “The Herpetofauna and Associated Parasites of Mexico-A Megadiverse Country: Phase II” awarded to Dr. Jonathan Campbell at The University of Texas at Arlington.

2008                Belize. Mayan archeological excavation of Xunantunich, Belize. “Mopan Valley Preclassic Project” At The University of Texas Arlington Field School I held a position as student archaeologist in affiliation with The Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan Belize funded and directed by Dr. Katherine Brown with internal funding from The University of Texas at Arlington.

Societies and Organizations

Texas Academy of Science (Graduate student member)

SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science)-Graduate student member

SICB (The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology)-Graduate student member

ARVO (The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) -Graduate student member

The Herpetologists’ League-Graduate student member

Eurycea Alliance

Texas Speleological Association-Graduate student member

DFW Herpetology Society

South Texas Herpetological Association

IRCF (International Reptile Conservation Foundation)

Texas Herpetological Society

Teaching Experience

2012-Present   Instructional Assistant: Vertebrate Anatomy Lab (Bio 4464 directed by Dr. Thoniot Prabhakaran). Texas State University, San Marcos, TX.

 2012-Present   Instructional Assistant: Anatomy and Physiology Lab (Bio 2430 directed by Dr. Thoniot Prabhakaran). Texas State University, San Marcos, TX.

2011                Instructional Assistant; Functional Biology Lab (Bio 1130 directed by Dr. Erica (Fall Sem. Simpson). Texas State University, San Marcos, TX.

Community Outreach

 2012                Participated in San Antonio Rodeo educational display and lectures, with the South Texas Herpetology Association, San Antonio TX.

2011                Participated in Ph.Un Week, education display based on physiology, exercise, and health. Sponsored by Dr. Dana Garcia, Held at Blessed John Paul II Catholic High School, Schertz TX.

2003-Present   Reptile Rescue Member, S.T.H.A. (South Texas Herpetological Association), San Antonio TX.

2003-2005       Herpetology Educational Speaker, L.C.R.A. (Lower Colorado River Association) Canyon of the Eagles Park, BurnetTX.

2003 & 2004   Program Director of Environment and Ecology, Camp Urland & Bear Creek Scout Ranch (Boy Scouts of America), Woodville and Hunt TX.

Students Mentored

 2012-2013       Brian P. Fremaux, Texas State University; Mentored in microscopy techniques and natural history of the south central Texas Eurycea clade.

2012-2013       Clayton F. Cerday, Texas State University; Mentored in immunohistochemistry techniques and natural history of the south central Texas Eurycea clade.

References

Dr. Dana M. Garcia, Professor, Department of Biology, Texas State University at San Marcos, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA.

Tel: (512) 245-2119, e-mail: dg08@txstate.edu

Dr. Jonathan A. Campbell, Professor and Department Chair, Department of Biology, and Amphibian and Reptile Research Diversity Center, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019, USA.

Tel: (817) 272-2871, e-mail: campbell@uta.edu

Dr. Coleman M. Sheehy III, Associate Director, Seahorse Key Marine Lab, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, 3215, USA.

Tel: (352) 846-2000, e-mail: coleman3@ufl.edu

Dr. Andre Pires da Silva, Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, U.K.

e-mail: andre.pires@warwick.ac.uk