About Sara & Contact Info

Lab PI, Dr. Sara Ruane


The Ruane Lab seeks to simultaneously inform reptile and amphibian systematics while also answering broad, contemporary questions in evolutionary biology. Some of my recent research focused on the phylogenetics of the Malagasy pseudoxyrhophiines, which includes the use of molecular data in the form of next-generation sequencing and traditional Sanger-sequencing approaches, as well as ecological and morphological data to aid in understanding what factors promote speciation in these snakes. I am also working on a project examining undescribed diversity in the poorly known New Guinean snakes, which I recently received NSF funding for. New and upcoming research from the Ruane Lab includes co-historical demography and genetic diversity of NJ squamates in the Pine Barrens and an examination of urban snake population genetics. While my interests in herpetology are broad, my lab focuses primarily on snakes, especially with respect to systematics, phylogenetics, and phylogeography.

sara mastigodryas

Starting July 2021, assistant curator of herpetology at the Field Museum of Natural History (still part of Rutgers and the graduate program at Newark and New Brunswick! advising graduate students Justin Bernstein at Rutgers-Newark, Anthony Sena at NJIT, co-advising Tianqi Huang at Rutgers-New Brunswick—but for undergraduate advisement in undergraduate Rutgers Biology, please contact Ms. Sheronda Martin to be assigned at new advisor at this time).

If you are interested in reptile systematics, especially snakes, please contact Sara here

Previously a postdoc at the LSU Museum of Natural Science, working with Chris Austin on snake related projects, especially taxa from New Guinea, which are ongoing. From 2013-2016, I was a postdoctoral researcher working at the American Museum of Natural History, focusing on the phylogenetics and unrecognized diversity of Malagasy snakes, and this collaboration continues. I completed my doctorate in the Biology EEB program with Frank Burbrink at CUNY (conferred 2/2013…Frank is now a curator at AMNH, see here), where I used molecular data to help update taxonomic hypotheses for milksnakes across their ranges in the USA, Central, and South America. Besides snakes, I love the color pink, chicken wings, and poodles (not necessarily in that order)!