Curriculum vitae (partial)


R. Sternberg, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Personal email:
(please use for correspondence regarding this site)

Staff Scientist
National Center for Biotechnology Information (GenBank)
National Institutes of Health

Research Associate
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC

Educational Background
1995-1998 Binghamton University (Binghamton, NY, USA)
Ph.D., Systems Science (Theoretical Biology), May 1998
Department of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering
1991-1995 Florida International University (Miami, FL, USA)
Ph.D., Biology (Molecular Evolution), December 1995
Department of Biological Sciences

Relevant research experience

2001-present Staff Scientist (Title 42 scientist, GS rank equivalent grade 13)/Research Associate. Function of repetitive DNA elements in the genome and development. Analyses of macroevolutionary transitions. National Center for Biotechnology Information-GenBank; National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
1999-2001 Postdoctoral Fellow. Cladistic analyses of eubrachyuran crab interrelationships; genome evolution and morphology. Department of Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
1995-1998 Research Associate. Development of fuzzy set theory-based techniques for the analysis of molecular and morphological data in evolutionary trees. Center for Intelligent Systems, T.J. Watson School, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY.
1991-1995 Doctoral Student. Isolation and cloning of repetitive DNA probes for discrimination between Farfantepenaeus shrimp species and populations. Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL.

Research Funding

2001-2003 NIH Intramural Research and Training Award, Postdoctoral Fellowship, $45,000 per year.
2000 Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellowship, $27,000, National Museum of Natural History.

Other Awards and Fellowships

1998 Distinguished Dissertation Award, T.J. Watson School, Binghamton University.
1995-1998 Full academic scholarship, Binghamton University.
1991-1993 Full academic scholarship, Florida International University.
Teaching Experience

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus
 —“General Biology” lecture and laboratory, Bio 101, Spring 2001

1999 Visiting Associate Professor, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
—“Human Anatomy and Physiology” lecture and lab, BI 104, Summer 1999
—“Biochemistry” lecture and laboratory, CH 450, Summer 1999
—“Cell Biology” lecture and laboratory, BI 313, Fall 1999
—“Molecular Biology” lecture and laboratory (theory and practice of recombinant DNA techniques), BI 418, Fall 1999

1997 Visiting Lecturer, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas, Caracas, Venezuela
—“Tecnologías del Genoma en Biodiversidad” (recombinant DNA techniques), Sept. 22 to Oct. 3, 1997

1995 Adjunct Assistant Professor, Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, FL
—“Energy and the Natural Environment” (ecology), PSC 1515, Spring/Summer 1995
—“General Biology” (cell biology, genetics, and evolution), BSC 2010, Summer 1995

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Florida International University
—“General Biology Laboratory” (2 Sections), BSC 1010, Spring 1995


Visiting Lecturer, Brookdale Community College, Guayaquil, Ecuador Campus
—“Environmental Studies”, ENVR 299, Summer 1994

Visiting Lecturer, Centro Nacional de Acuicultura e Investigaciones Marinas, San Pedro de Manglaralto, Ecuador
—“Molecular Biology of the Cell”, Summer 1994


Teaching Assistant, University of South Carolina
—“Man and His Environment” Laboratory, BIOL 270L, Fall 1990/Spring 1991

Informal Teaching/Speaking Activities


Invited Speaker, Center for Intelligent Systems, SUNY-Binghamton
—“What is the pattern of a natural taxonomy? And how do we explain complex anatomical novelties? A systems perspective”, March 2002


Invited Speaker, Contextualizing the Genome: the Role of Epigenetics in Genetics, Development, and Evolution, Ghent University, Nov. 2001
—“On the role(s) of repetitive DNA in epigenesis


Thesis Reader and Advisor, Northern Michigan University
—Lobello, J. “Molecular systematics of the North American Acipenseridae (Chondrostei, Acipenseriformes).” MS Thesis (defended 2001)
—Plachetzki, D.C. “Molecular phylogeny of selected African freshwater crabs (Eubrachyura: Potamonautidae).” MS thesis (defended 2000)


Guest Lecturer, Northern Michigan University
—“Application of Fuzzy Set Theory to Phylogenetic Methodologies”, Nov. 1996

Sigma Xi Guest Lecturer, Northern Michigan University
—“Genome Technologies for the Preservation of Latin American Biodiversity”, Nov. 1996


Guest Speaker, Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral, Guayaquil, Ecuador
—“Potential for Biodiversity/Biotechnology Research in Ecuador”, Nov. 1993

Guest Speaker, Second Ecuadorian Aquaculture Congress, Guayaquil, Ecuador
—“Repetitive DNA Elements as Genome Markers in Decapod Crustacean Genetics”, Oct. 1993


Panel Member, University of Georgia, Symposium “Transposable Elements and Evolution”, Athens, Georgia, June 1992

Responsibilities in Current Position at NCBI-Genbank


—All invertebrate and fish DNA systematics decisions for NCBI-GenBank, European Molecular Biological Laboratory (EMBL), and DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ).

—Curate invertebrate and fish DNA submissions to GenBank, including verification of taxon names, voucher specimen queries, and insuring that the invertebrate and fish database is maximally informative to users.

—Maintain and update the hierarchical structure of the invertebrate and fish DNA database to reflect accepted systematic relationships at all taxonomic levels.

—Independent research focusing on the functionality of repetitive DNA, and the causal entailments (“complexity hurdles”) of macroevolutionary transitions (50% of time).

Special Skills


—Experience with a variety of cladistic and phenetic software packages for the analysis (and mining) of morphological and molecular data.

—Working knowledge of a host of molecular biological techniques including PCR; Southern and Northern blot analysis; all aspects of DNA extraction, purification, and cloning; cDNA and genomic library construction; and electrophoretic detection of protein-DNA interactions.

—Extensive fieldwork in the Ecuadorian Andes, coast, and mangrove forests; Venezuelan coastal mountains and Llanos; aboard trawling and research vessels to collect crustaceans off the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coast of Florida.

—Administrative: Managed the Center for Intelligent Systems, SUNY-Binghamton.

Editorial Boards


Managing Editor, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 2001-2004

Editorial Board, International Journal of General Systems, 2001-present

Editorial Board, Occasional Papers of the Barminology Study Group, 2001-present

Professional Memberships


Biological Society of Washington

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Washington Evolutionary Systems Society

International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design

Refereed Publications
1. Sternberg, R. v., G.E. Novick, G.-P. Gao, & R.J. Herrera (1992). Genome canalization: the coevolution of transposable and interspersed repetitive elements with single copy DNA. Genetica 86: 215-246.
2. Sternberg, R. v. & D.C. Yoch (1993). Molecular cloning and sequencing of the ferredoxin I fdxN gene of the purple bacterium Rhodospirillum rubrum. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1144: 435-438.
3. Sternberg, R. v. (1994). Systematic implications of color pattern polymorphism in Goniopsis pulchra (Decapoda: Brachyura: Grapsidae) from Ecuador. Proc. Biol. Soc.Wash. 107: 721-728.
4. Sternberg, R. v. & H. Motoh (1995). Notes on the phylogeny of the American Penaeus shrimps (Decapoda: Dendrobranchiata: Penaeidae). Crust. Res. 24: 146-156.
5. Sternberg, R. v. (1996). The role of constrained self-organization in genome structural evolution. Acta Biotheoretica 44: 95-118.
6. Sternberg, R. v. (1996). Carcinization as an underlying synapomorphy for the decapod crustacean taxon Meiura. Evol. Theory 11: 153-162.
7. Sternberg, R. v. (1996). Genome self-modification and cellular control of genome reorganization. Riv. Biol./Biol. Forum 89: 445-484.
8. Sternberg, R. v. (1997). The phylogenetic and systematic position of the Penaeus subgenus Litopenaeus (Decapoda: Dendrobranchiata: Penaeidae). Rev. Biol. Trop. 44(3)/45(1): 441-451.
9. Sternberg, R. v. (1997). Cladistics of the freshwater crab family Trichodactylidae (Crustacea: Decapoda): appraising the reappraisal. J. Comp. Biol. 2: 49-62.
10. Rodríguez, G. & R. v. Sternberg (1998). Revision of the freshwater crabs of the family Pseudothelphusidae (Decapoda: Brachyura) from Ecuador. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 111: 110-139.
11. Sternberg, R. v. (1998). The sister group of the freshwater crab family Trichodactylidae (Crustacea: Decapoda: Eubrachyura). J. Comp. Biol. 3: 93-101.
12. Sternberg, R. v. & G. Klir (1998). Generative archetypes and taxa: a fuzzy set formalization. Riv. Biol./Biol. Forum 92: 403-423.
13. Sternberg, R. v., N. Cumberlidge, & G. Rodríguez (1999). On the marine sister groups of the freshwater crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda). J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res. 37: 19-38.
14. Sternberg, R. v. & N. Cumberlidge (1999). A cladistic analysis of the genus Platythelphusa A. Milne-Edwards, 1887 from Lake Tanganyika, East Africa (Decapoda: Potamoidea: Platythelphusidae) with comments on the phylogenetic position of the group. J. Nat. Hist. 33: 493-511.
15. Cumberlidge, N., R. v. Sternberg, R. Bills, & H. Martin (1999). A revision of the genus Platythelphusa A. Milne-Edwards, 1887 from Lake Tanganyika, East Africa (Decapoda: Potamoidea: Platythelphusidae). J. Nat. Hist. 33: 1487-1512.
16. Sternberg, R. v., L.A. Galindo, & E.M. González (1999). Cladistic analysis of the Eudaniela species complex (Crustacea: Decapoda: Pseudothelphusidae). Hydrobiologia 416: 139-147.
17. Cumberlidge, N. & R. v. Sternberg (1999). Phylogenetic relationships of the freshwater crabs of Lake Tanganyika (Decapoda, Brachyura). In: “Crustaceans and the Biodiversity Crisis”, F.R. Schram & J.C. von Vaupel Klein (eds.), Brill, Leiden, pp. 405-422.
18. Sternberg, R. v. (2000). Genomes and form: the case for teleomorphic recursivity. In: “Closure: Emergent Organizations and their Dynamics,” J.L.R. Chandler and G. van de Vijer (eds.), Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 901: 224-236.
19. Sternberg, R. v. & N. Cumberlidge (2000). Taxic relationships within the Grapsidae MacLeay, 1838 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Eubrachyura). J. Comp. Biol. 3(2): 115-136.
20. Sternberg, R. v. & N. Cumberlidge (2001). On the heterotreme-thoracotreme distinction in the Eubrachyura De Saint Laurent, 1980 (Decapoda, Brachyura). Crustaceana 74(4): 321-338.
21. Sternberg, R. v. & N. Cumberlidge (2001). Notes on the position of the true freshwater crabs in the brachyrhynchan Eubrachyura (Crustacea: Decapoda). Hydrobiologia 449(1/3): 21-39.
22. Lemaitre, R., J. García-Gómez, R. v. Sternberg, & E. Campos (2001). A new genus and species of goneplacid crab (Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura, Goneplacidae) from the Caribbean. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 114(4): 938-943.
23. Cumberlidge, N. & R. v. Sternberg (2002). The freshwater crabs of Madagascar (Crustacea: Decapoda: Potamoidea). Zoosystema 24(1): 41-79.
24. Sternberg, R. v. (2002). The roles of repetitive DNA elements in the context of a unified genomic/epigenetic system. In “From Epigenesis to Epigenetics: The Genome in Context,” L. van Speybroek, G. van de Vijver, and D. De Waele (eds.), Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 981: 154-188.
25. Sternberg, R. v. & N. Cumberlidge (2003). Autapomorphies of the endophragmal system in trichodactylid freshwater crabs. J. of Morphology 256: 23-28.
26. Sternberg, R. v. (2003). Review: “Development and Evolution: Complexity and Change in Biology,” by Stanley N. Salthe. International J. General Systems 32: 96-98.
27. Cumberlidge, N. and R. v. Sternberg (2003).  The freshwater crabs of Madagascar.  In: The Natural History of Madagascar, eds. Steven M. Goodman and Jon Benstead, University of Chicago Press, pp. 612-617.
28. Cavanaugh, D.P. & R. v. Sternberg (2004). Analysis of morphological groupings using ANOPA, a pattern recognition and multivariate statistical method: a case Study involving centrarchid fishes. J. Biol. Systems 12: 137-167.
29. Salthe, S. N. & R. v. Sternberg. Complex systems and explanation. In the journal Nature’s: “Encyclopedia of the Human Genome” (in press).
30. Sternberg, R. v. & M. Schotte (2004). A new species of the anchialine shrimp genus Procaris (Decapoda: Caridea: Procarididae) from Mexico. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 117(4) (in press).
31. Shapiro, J.A. & R. v. Sternberg. Why repetitive DNA is essential for genome function. Biol. Rev. (Cambridge) ___ [full citation coming].
32. Sternberg, R. v. & J. A. Shapiro. How repeated retroelements format genome function. Cytogenet. Genome Res. ___ [full citation coming].
Other Published Contributions
  Cumberlidge, N. & R. v. Sternberg (1998). An expert opinion analysis of global freshwater crab biodiversity. Prepared for the Biodiversity Assessment Programme, World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, UK.
Selected Abstracts (national and international meetings)
  Cumberlidge, N. & R. v. Sternberg. Phylogenetic relationships of the freshwater crabs of Lake Tanganyika. Fourth International Crustacean Congress, Amsterdam, 21 July 1998.
  Cumberlidge, N. & R. v. Sternberg. A contribution to the taxonomy of the freshwater crabs of Madagascar. 1999 Summer Meeting of The Crustacean Society, 27 May 1999.
  Sternberg, R. v. & N. Cumberlidge. Cladistic analysis of the freshwater crab marine sister groups. Colloquium Crustacea Decapoda Mediterranea, Lisbon, Portugal, 8 Sept. 1999.
  Cumberlidge, N., R. v. Sternberg, & W. Wranik. Phylogeny and biogeography of the freshwater crabs of the Island of Socotra, Yemen. 2000 Summer Meeting of The Crustacean Society, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, 29 June 2000.

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