David Alvarez-Ponce

Associate Professor
Formal headshot of David Alvarez-Ponce


During evolution, DNA sequences accumulate mutations, resulting in genetic diversity. Mutations are subject to the filtering of natural selection, and standing patterns and levels of DNA variability contain invaluable information about the evolutionary history of genes, genomes and organisms. Research in the lab broadly focuses on understanding why different genes are subject to different evolutionary forces (e.g. purifying and positive selection). With this aim, we make extensive use of large-scale comparative genomics and bioinformatics analyses.

Genes and proteins rarely work in isolation; instead, they work as parts of networks of interacting molecules, such as metabolic networks, signal transduction networks, protein-protein interaction networks, etc. We are interested in how these networks have generated and grown during evolution, and in how the position of genes within such networks affect their evolution.

Other research areas in the lab include the origin of Eukaryotes (which are thought to have arisen from a fusion event involving an archaebacterium and a eubacterium), organism's genomic adaptation to different temperatures, and the development of bioinformatics software.


  • Ph.D. Genetics, University of Barcelona, 2010
  • M.S. Genetics, University of Barcelona, 2007
  • B.S. Computer Science, Open University of Catalonia, 2015
  • B.S. Biology, University of Barcelona, 2005


  • Associate Professor, University of Nevada, Reno, 2020-present
  • Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Reno, 2014-2020
  • Juan de la Cierva Postdoctoral fellow, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Spain, 2012-2014
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Trinity College Dublin, 2012
  • Postdoctoral researcher, National University of Ireland Maynooth, 2010-2012


Mousel-Feltner Award for Excellence in Research