Comparative Biomechanics
University of San Diego


Dr. Danos

I am a broadly trained Vertebrate Comparative Anatomist who uses both model and non-model organisms to study the relationship between form and function. My studies focus on the anatomy and mechanical properties of tissues, especially soft ones, and how these might contribute to critical organismal functions such as walking and eating. 






Past Students


Maxwell Johnson (USD '21)


Tiffany Truong (USD '21)


Ethan Iles (USD '21)


Lauren Foehr (USD '21)


Michael Gloriani


Francesca Bilotta (USD '18)


Megan Lee 


Marie Ellenor Bagana


Nikki Plotts


Jalen Paulos



This one-semester course for biology majors provides an introduction to the mechanisms of information flow through organisms and their lineages. The laboratory includes inquiry into the structure and function of DNA, and testing hypotheses of evolution and phylogeny. 

The evolution of vertebrates is one of the most compelling stories in comparative biology. For millions of years vertebrates have flourished in the seas and on land by employing a variety of morphological specializations for feeding, locomotion, and reproduction. Yet, all vertebrates retain similarities in their design regardless of how structural components function in different lineages and environments. This course examines the shared and transformed anatomical attributes among vertebrates in the context of function and phylogenetic history. 

A course in the biology of vertebrates. Although vertebrate structure, function, and development are studied, emphasis is on the behavior, evolution, and interaction of the vertebrate organism as a whole, or at the population level. Techniques of identification and study are covered in the laboratory and field. 

Students develop and assist in research projects in various fields of biology working with Dr. Danos. The study may involve literature searching, on and off-campus research, and attendance at seminars at other leading universities and scientific institutions.Students are required to complete one semester of 496 before being allowed to continue on to 497.



riley and austin _edited
riley and austin _edited

press to zoom
BIOL 320- 2017
BIOL 320- 2017

Students teaching each other using their dissected animals.

press to zoom
Anza Borrego- 2019
Anza Borrego- 2019

press to zoom
riley and austin _edited
riley and austin _edited

press to zoom



For any inquiries, questions or commendations, please fill out the following form

Thanks for submitting!

University of San Diego

5998 Alcala Park 

San Diego, CA 92110