Ricardo Mallarino

Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Office Phone
Guyot Hall, 8


The molecular basis of evolutionary change.


The Mallarino lab is broadly interested in addressing two questions:

  1. What are the genetic and developmental mechanisms by which morphological, physiological, and behavioral traits are established?
  2. How are these processes modified during evolutionary time to produce the spectacular phenotypic diversity seen in nature?

To answer these questions, we combine the study of emerging model organisms, because of their diverse, naturally occurring and ecologically relevant phenotypes, with traditional model species, because of the powerful molecular and genetic tools available. We use a variety of approaches, including experimental embryology, transcriptomic and epigenomic profiling, comparative genomics, functional genetics, and imaging, to uncover gene function and understand mechanisms of evolutionary change.

Please navigate to the lab research page to find a description of the different projects that are currently ongoing in our lab


Ricardo Mallarino is an Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, he graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Universidad de los Andes. He completed his graduate studies at Harvard in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology in 2011, working with Arhat Abzhanov on developmental mechanisms underlying beak shape diversity in Darwin’s finches and their close relatives. After completing his PhD. he joined Hopi Hoekstra’s lab at Harvard, where he established a new model species and developed tools for studying the molecular basis of pigment pattern formation in mammals. Dr. Mallarino’s research focuses on understanding the genetic and developmental mechanisms by which form and structure are regulated during vertebrate embryogenesis and elucidating how these processes get modified during evolutionary time to produce phenotypic diversity.

Honors & Awards


  • Vallee Scholar


  • Searle Scholar
  • Sloan Fellow


  • Ph.D., Biology, Harvard University
  • B.S., Biology, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

Selected Publications