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Ajna Rivera

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences


Phone: 209.946.3982


Biological Sciences Center, 217


PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2006

BS, Stanford University, 1999

Curriculum Vitae 

Teaching Philosophy

I apply my research on neuroscience and evolution to the classroom. Humans tend to learn best when they are 
1) Taught by another person and 
2) Are actively integrating new information into their understanding of the subject
I give my students the resources they need to be efficient learners: 
1) I give them learning materials ahead of time so they know what is coming. 
2) I encourage them to speak up in class so they can actively question how the new material fits in with what they already know.
3) I ask them a combination of simple and far-reaching questions to help them think over the subject matter and integrate it into their previous understanding of biology. 
4) I encourage them to learn from each other since both teaching and listening help solidify understanding of a subject.

Research Interests

Evolution and development of nervous systems, especially of complex features of nervous systems.

Evolution of gene regulatory networks.

Genomics and transcriptomics.

Sexual dimorphism of morphology and behavior

Molecular biology


BIOL 061 Principles of Biology

BIOL 101 Genetics

BIOL 159 Molecular Techniques

BIOL 165 Embryology and Development

BIOL 179 Evolution