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Raul Diaz
Raul Diaz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology

Education: 

  • Ph.D., Cell and Anatomy, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS and The Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO, 2007-2012
  • M.A., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, 2005-2007
  • B.A., Integrative Biology, concentration in Systematics and Evolutionary Biology, University of California at Berkeley, 1999-2004

Principal Research Interests

Dr. Diaz is fascinated by not only the morphological diversity (skeletal and ectodermal structures) found across vertebrates, but is interested in the genetics and ecological factors driving speciation and adaptive phenotypes (in particular, those which occur repeatedly through convergence). The genetic signaling pathways involved in driving morphological diversity are highly conserved across vertebrates and may also provide a not-yet-appreciated tool for studying the development of congenital malformations in humans.

His study system involves reptiles and amphibians in the field but also maintains a reptile breeding group in house (and soon some amphibians) for looking at the developmental genetics and cellular biology driving morphological change during development. His lab's interest spans across various taxonomic groups (though mainly chameleons and large pythons) and integrates ecology and natural history of species from in the field with taxonomy/systematics, developmental and comparative morphology, embryology, genetics/omics, as well as immunohistochemistry, histology, microscopy and gene expression studies.


Research Area: 

  • Body plan evolution (emphasis on the appendicular and cranial-skeleton)
  • Ectodermal-mesenchymal interactions
  • Cell migration and cell environment interactions/patternings (coloration and ectodermal appendage differentiation)
  • Relationship between trunk vertebral increase and limb reduction/loss
  • Trunk vs Tail somitogenesis in development
  • Craniofacial divergence and its relation to biomechanical use in ecology
  • Phylogenetics and systematics of reptiles and amphibians
  • Conservation of reptiles and amphibians
  • Body size evolution (gigantism/dwarfism) in snakes and salamanders

E-mail: rdiaz1@lasierra.edu
Phone: 951-785-2101
Building: Price Science Complex, Rm. 207


Representative Publications

 

  1. Diaz, R.E. 2000. Book Review: Reptiles and Amphibians of the Maya World, by Julian C. Lee.  Herpetological Natural History 7(2): 187-188.
  2. Kaiser, H. and R. E. Diaz. 2001. Natural History Note on Thecadactylus rapicauda territorial behavior. Herpetological Review 32: 259.
  3. Kaiser, H. and R. E. Diaz. 2001. Natural History Note on Tropidurus plica fighting behavior.  Herpetological Review 32: 260.
  4. Grismer, L. L., N. S. Yaakob, L. B. Liat, T. M. Leong, I. Das, R. A. Sosa, J. L. Grismer, K. M. Crane, R. E. Diaz, S. V. Figueroa, C. A. Ledbetter, S. C. Newbold, S. R. Newbold, C. P. Patel, J. Castro, R. A. Escobar III, S. Guerrero, J. W. Pinedo, and Hinrich Kaiser, 2001a.  First report on the herpetofauna of Pulau Aur, Johor, West Malaysia. Hamadryad 26:350-353.
  5. Grismer, L. L., N. S. Yaakob, L. B. Liat, T. M. Leong, I. Das, R. A. Sosa, J. L. Grismer, K. M. Crane, R. E. Diaz, S. V. Figueroa, C. A. Ledbetter, S. C. Newbold, S. R. Newbold, C. P. Patel, J. Castro, R. A. Escobar III, S. Guerrero, J. W. Pinedo, P. E. Jones, and Hinrich Kaiser, 2001b.  Report on the herpetofauna of Pulau Tulai, West Malaysia. Hamadryad 26:369-371.
  6.  Diaz, R.E., S. Guerrero, C. Ledbetter, S. Newbold. 2003.  Natural History Notes: Feeding behavior of Ptyas carinatus. Herpetological Review 34(4): 377.
  7.  Diaz, R.E., M. T. Leong, N. S. Yaakob, and L. L. Grismer. 2004. A New Species of Dibamus (Squamata: Dibamidae) from West Malaysia. Asiatic Herpetological Research 10:1-7.
  8.  Rödel, M-O, Gil, M., Agyei, A. C., Leaché, A. D., Diaz, R. E., Fujita, M. K.,and R. Ernst. 2005.  The amphibians of the forested parts of south-western Ghana. Salamandra 41:107-127.
  9.  Leaché, A. D., Rödel, M-O, Linkem, C. W., Diaz, R. E., Hillers, A., and M. K. Fujita. 2006. Biodiversity in a forest island: Reptiles and amphibians of the West African Togo Hills. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, 4:22-45.
  10. Domínguez, M. and Díaz, R. E.,  Jr. 2011. Taxonomy of the Blind Snakes Associated with Typhlops lumbricalis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Scolecophidia, Typhlopidae) from the Bahamas Islands and Cuba. Herpetologica: June 2011, Vol. 67, No. 2, pp. 194-211
  11. Domínguez, M. and R. E. Díaz. 2011. Anguis lumbricalis Linnaeus, 1758 and Anguis jamaicencis Shaw, 1802 (currently Typhlops lumbricalis and Typhlops jamaicencis) (Reptilia, Serpentes): proposed conservation of usage of the specific names by the designation of neotypes for both species. The Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 68(3):197-203
  12. Trueb, L., R. Diaz and D. Blackburn. 2011. Osteology and chondrocranial morphology of Gastrophryne carolinensis (Anura: Microhylidae), with a review of the osetological diversity of New World microhylids. Phyllomedusa 10(2): 99-135.
  13. Rödel, M-O., M. F. Barej, A. Hillers, A. D. Leaché, N. G. Kouamé, C. Ofori-Boateng, N. E. Assemian, B. Tohé, J. Penner, M. Hirschfeld, J. Doumbia, L. N. Gonwouo, J. Nopper, C. Brede, R. Diaz, M. K. Fujita, M. Gil, G. H. Segniagbeto, R. Ernst, and L. Sandberger. 2012. The genus Astylosternus in the Upper Guinea rainforsts, West Africa, with the description of a new species (Amphibia: Anura: Arthroleptidae). Zootaxa,3245:1-29
  14. Bhatt, S., R. Diaz, P. Trainor. 2013. Signals and switches in mammalian Neural Crest Cell development. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology 5(2):.
  15. R. Browne, H. Li, Z. Wang, S. Okada, P. Hime, A. McMillan, H. Merideth, L. Gang, M. Wu, T. Johnson, R. Diaz, Z. Hongxing. 2012. The Giant Salamanders (Cryptobranchidae): Part A. Conservation Biology. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 5(4): 17-29 (e54).
  16. R. Browne, H. Li, Z. Wang, S. Okada, P. Hime, A. McMillan, H. Merideth, L. Gang, M. Wu, T. Johnson, R. Diaz, Z. Hongxing. 2013. The Giant Salamanders (Cryptobranchidae): Part B. Range, Ecology, Behaviour, Reproduction. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 5(4): 30-50.
  17. Young, N.M., Hu, D., Lainoff, A.J., Smith, F., Diaz, R., Tucker, A.S., Trainor, P.A., Schneider, R.A., Hallgrímsson, B., Marcucio, R.S. 2014. Embryonic bauplans and the developmental origins of facial diversity and constraint. Development 141(5).
  18. Stower, M., Diaz, R, White Crother, M., Crother, B., Marco, A., Trainor, P., Srinivas, S., Bertocchini, F. 2015. Bi-modal strategy of gastrulation in reptiles. Developmental Dynamics. June 19 doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24300.
  19. Diaz, R. E., Jr., C. A. Anderson, D. Baumann, D. Jewell, R. Kupronis, C. Piraquive, J. Schieszer, K. Winter and P. A. Trainor. In press. Protocol: Captive care, raising and breeding of the Veiled Chameleon, Chamaeleo calyptratus. Emerging Model Organisms, Cold Spring Harbor Press.
  20. Diaz, R. E., Jr., C. A. Anderson, D. Baumann, D. Jewell, R. Kupronis, C. Piraquive, J. Schieszer, K. Winter and P. A. Trainor. In press. The Veiled Chameleon, Chamaeleo calyptratus: A model for studying reptile bodyplan development and evolution. To Emerging Model Organisms, Cold Spring Harbor Press.
  21. Diaz, R. E., Jr. and P. A. Trainor. In press. Hand/foot splitting and the 're-evolution' of mesopodial skeletal elements during the evolution and radiation of chameleons. BMC Evolutionary Biology