Juan C. Santos -- PI

I am a molecular ecologist and evolutionary biologist with interest in ectotherms (frogs and lizards). My research is centered on: (1) Neotropical biogeography and physiological consequences of climate change on ectotherms; (2) Phenotypic adaptations and genomic-trasncriptomic bases of anti-predator defense mechanisms and sexual dimorphism; and (3) Systematics, taxonomy, and natural history of New World reptiles and amphibians. I used bioinformatic tools to address these research interests and I help collaborators to develop and implement such approaches for other biological questions (e.g., comparative analyses in ants and ecophysiology in plants). In 2017, I joined the SJU at Department of Biological Sciences (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) as an Assistant Professor


PhD Students


Randy Ortiz

Randy is a Ph.D. student since 2019 and currently a faculty instructor at SUNY Sullivan. He completed his M.S. degree at St. John's University. He is currently utilizing python to develop a modular pipeline for transcriptomic, exome capture and gene identification research. He is also studying E. coqui frogs transcriptome and parasite diversity. He is very enthusiastic about teaching and fine dining.




Juan David Carvajal

Juan D. is a Colombian Ph.D. student since 2021. After complete his bachelor's degree at the Universidad del Quindío, he worked in the conservation of Colombian ecosystems. He studies parental care, climate change, and the evolution of coloration and autoresistence in aposematic frogs and respiration pigments of lizards. Juan David is also studying the impact of urbanization on genetic variability in Colombian herpetofauna. He does field work and uses diverse bioinformatic tools. He likes communicating science, reading books, listening music, and watching diverse films. You can visit his website and his google scholar.



Md Abu Bakar Siddique

Abu has been a Biology Ph.D. student since 2021. He finished his BS from SUST, Bangladesh. Before starting his Ph.D. journey, he worked in the genomic lab of Mount Sinai Hospital. He wants to use bioinformatics tools to study the genetic mechanisms of disparity in disease outcomes among amphibian species and protein evolution. Abu is an NYS-licensed and ASCP-certified clinical laboratory scientist. He loves working in the lab as well as likes reading books, adventurous traveling, solving puzzles, and playing brainstorming board games like chess.



Genrietta (Gretta) Yagudayeva

Genrietta is a Biology Ph.D. since 2022. She graduated from Hunter College with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and minored in Anthropology. At the lab, she studies a few projects involving the life-history of reptiles in relation to hemoglobin genes’ structure and function and its affinity to oxygen, E. anthonyi poison frogs as a model system to run transcriptomic analysis, and the poison frogs’ tadpole transport bioglue on a molecular and evolutionary basis. Outside of the lab, she is passionate about teaching and spreading science to diverse populations. In her free-time, she enjoys traveling, visiting museums, and playing the guitar.




Master Students


Devashri Narayan

Devashri is a BS/MS student in the Biology department at St. John’s University. She joined us in the Fall 2022.




Undergraduate Students


Victoria Akilov

Sarah E. Meller

Zada N. O'Connor

Richard A. Correa-Lampasona

Giuliana Frisina

Joanne Luna

Bridget Allen

Jessica Muratov

Eric Lee

Catlin Murphy

Eileen Li

Anna Jiang


Past Members: Graduate Students


Priyanka Gera

Priyanka finished her BS in Summer 2022. She worked in chitinases and now she is currently doing her MD at the New York Medical College.





Joseph De Leon

Joe finished his Master in Spring 2021. He worked in TLRs and now he is current a dental student at Stony Brook University with the pursuit of becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.





Christopher Rivera

Christopher finished his Master in Spring 2019. He developed many of the bioinformatics pipelines for transcriptome and exome capture reconstructions.





Benjamin de Leon III

Benjamin finished his BS/MS in Spring 2019. He worked on the coevolution of Amphibia mitogenomes and life history traits. He is currently doing his MD at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University.




Priyangi Jayasuriya

Priyangi finished her Master in Spring 2019. She worked on the coevolution of Amphibia mitogenomes and their environmental context. She is currently at Weill Cornell Medicine.




Maryna Vicinanza

Maryna finished her Master in Spring 2019. She worked on models of amphibian distribution with poison frog data. She is currently at Pfizer.





Past Members: Rotating Graduate Students


Leeann Christina Dabydeen (Spring, 2021) -- Biological Sciences MS student

Bijaya Gaire (Summer, 2018) -- Rotating Biological Sciences PhD student


Past Members: Undergraduate/Graduate Students


Aashish V. Patel (Spring, 2021) -- Biology undergraduate student

Bill Capitano (Fall, 2020) -- Biology graduate student

Carolyn Kosinski (Fall, 2020) -- Biology undergraduate student

Qasim S. Hussain (Fall, 2019) -- Biology undergraduate student

Gabriella Tjitropranoto (Summer-Fall, 2019) -- Biology undergraduate student

Gabriella Sosa Medina (Summer, 2019) -- Biology undergraduate student

Isabella Vargas (Summer, 2019) -- Biology undergraduate student

Giang (Jacelyn) Vo (Spring-Summer, 2019) -- Biology undergraduate student

Valeria Miranda (Spring, 2018) -- Biology undergraduate student


Past Members: High School Students


Ruby Lin (Spring, 2022) -- Stuyvesant High School

Ravindra Managar (Spring, 2022) -- Stuyvesant High School

Rochelle Avezki (Spring, 2021) -- Townsend Harris High School

James Tu (Spring, 2021) -- The Kew-Forest School

Rauja Khan (Fall, 2018) -- Queens High School for the Sciences