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Image by Ed van duijn

The Lab

Heliconius.  Genomics.  Evolution. Biology.

My lab explores the genetic and epigenetic source of variation for natural selection and adaptation to work upon.  I am interested in investigating what governs patterns diversity, what limits it, and what promotes its potentials. In order to do so, I combine methods of pure genetics, phylogenetics, epigenetics, single cell genomics, developmental cell biology, and functional genomics.

The Team

Get to know our lab members.


Riccardo Papa

Professor | Lab Director | Director of Sequencing and Genotyping Facility

I have been a faculty member at the University of Puerto Rico since 2010. The diversity and beauty found in nature first sparked my interest in biology as a student, which ultimately led me to studying Heliconius here in Puerto Rico.   I am also the Director of the Sequencing and Genotyping Facility.

Learn more about Sequencing and Genotyping Facility 
Image by Meriç Dağlı


post-doctoral fellow 

I am interested in fundamental principles that explain biological diversity. Much of my work involves dissecting the genomic architecture of phenotypic traits, obtaining an improved understanding of population structure,  and contemplating about mechanisms behind speciation.

Image by Joshua Torres

Carolina Concha

Post-doctral fellow


Yadira Ortiz 

Lab manager


Angelo Ruggieri

Ph.D. Student

I'm an evolutionary biologist that pretends to be a computational one.

I studied ladybugs, cockroaches and butterflies so I may also be an entomologist 


Heriberto Carbia Gutierrez

Ph.D. Student

I work with amazing biologists who have provided me the data to predict the impossible.

Image by Muhammed Zafer Yahsi

Sylvia Planas

Lab technician


Elizabeth Evans

Masters student

The aim of my Master's thesis is to dissect the components of assortative mating between two Heliconius species. I am also in charge of the butterfly rearing facility and conduct CRISPR experiments for the lab etc.

Image by Nandhu Kumar

Brenda Santiago

EPSCOR program manager

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