Who we are

Sonal Singhal

image-right I have been a professor at CSU Dominguez Hills since Fall 2017. I came to CSUDH via Ohio, with numerous stops for schooling and training along the way. My research uses genetics to reconstruct the evolutionary history of natural populations. Although I enjoy all aspects of research, my favorite part is data analysis. My teaching interests include genetics, ecology & evolution, and practical computing. Outside of school, you can find me cooking overly complicated meals, reading books, trying to do a pull-up, and spending time with my family & pups.

Micah Castrillo

image-right I am a current junior at CSUDH majoring in Environmental Science & Ecology. My general interests include conservation & ecological restoration, ichthyology, and phycology. If I’m not in the classroom, I love to be outdoors. You can typically find me scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, and exploring new places in my free time.

George Contreras

image-right I am currently a third-year student at CSU Dominguez Hills, majoring in microbiology. I plan to graduate in Spring 2022. The topics of biology that interest me include phylogenetics and taxonomy. I like these fields because they involve the exploration of different characteristics of a species to apply them to a specific category or ancestry. Outside of school, I like to sculpt, play piano, go on hikes, and [attempt to] cook new things.

Aracely Herrera

image-right I am a recent graduate from CSUDH with a degree in Biology - Ecology and Environmental Science with a minor in Anthropology. I was born in raised in Los Angeles, CA. I have various interests in the Biology field including genetics, behavioral interactions, and climate change in the environment. In my free time you can find me with book in my hand, catching up on a Netflix series, going on a nature walk, or improving my trombone playing.

Itzel Ixta

image-right I am currently a senior at CSUDH majoring in Cellular & Molecular Biology. I am mostly interested in genetics and evolution. I am the youngest of three children born and raised in Los Angeles. When I’m not in school or doing homework, you can find me spending time at home with my dog or drinking coffee at the beach.

Chandra Jones

image-right I am a junior, and my major is Biology - Ecology and Environmental Science. I’ve always had an interest in the environment, including how it changes and what we can do to preserve the environment and the animals that live in it. In my free time I like taking care of my plants, going on nature walks, and spending time with my loved ones. I’ve recently enjoyed roller skating down at the beach with my partner.

Susana Lopez-Ignacio

image-right I am third-year student majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology at CSU Dominguez Hills. A topic that interests me is genetics and its correlation to disorders. In the future, I plan to get more involved with this topic and to dive into the field of neurology. When I have some free time, I like to go and try a new drink flavor at Boba Time or catch up on anime series or drama. I am also into fashion trends and do change my style quite often. In other words, I love shopping!

Alan Santana Hernandez

image-right I am a currently a graduate student here at CSUDH and happy to be a returning Toro. I graduated with my B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from CSUDH, and I am now working towards getting my M.S. in Biology. As a DACA student, learning to navigate through the struggles of being an immigrant and a first generation college student was tough. I say this because, if you can relate, I want to tell you, “sí se puede”. Outside of school you can find me spending time with my beautiful wife and puppy, lifting at my powerlifting gym, working at my newly started career, watching anime, or becoming an Elden Lord.

Alexis Widmann

image-right I am currently a transfer junior at CSUDH from El Camino College. I’m working towards my B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, where I intend to take that truly awesome degree all the way to graduate school where I will earn my M.S. in Genetic Counseling, my true passion. Outside of the lab and lecture you can still find me buried in biology textbooks and genetic pamphlets; some concerned family and friends worry I may have an obsession. Between you and me, I’ve only scratched the surface…


  • Natalya Cardona: Natalya spent two years in the lab as an undergraduate student & studied niche evolution in Encelia. She is currently pursuing a PhD in immunology at The Lundquist Institute.
  • Josh De Vera: Josh spent two years in the lab studying the evolution of the PRDM9 gene in lizards and snakes. Josh is currently working as a COVID19 safety officer.
  • Melissa Diaz: Melissa was a biology undergraduate student & studied lizard behavior. She graduated in December 2018 and is currently working as instructional support while pursuing her Masters in education.
  • Andrea Hernandez: Andrea spent two years in the lab studying rarity in the desert plants Encelia. Andrea is currently a graduate student pursuing her PhD on fungi & global change at UC Irvine.
  • Mayra Padilla Flores: Mayra spent nearly three years in the lab studying hybridization in the desert plants Encelia. Mayra is currently a Process Biologist working in food safety.
  • Nicole Roberts: Nicole completed her Masters in the lab studying ecological niche modelling in bats. She is currently working as an intern with the DEVELOP program at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and as a research analyst with the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy. You can find her code base and projects here
  • Liz Solis: Liz spent nearly three years in the lab studying hybridization in the desert plants Encelia and the species status of the lizard Ctenotus zastictus. Liz is currently a PhD student studying venom evolution & microbiomes at University of New Mexico.
  • John Wrath: John spent nearly three years in the lab studying the central-marginal hypothesis in Australian lizards. John is currently working as a citizen journalist.