Garcia, Dana

Dana Garcia

Dana M. García, Ph.D.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)


Ph.D., 1993, University of California - Berkeley
B.S., 1986, Texas A&M University


Cell and Molecular Biology (BIO 3300)
Vertebrate Physiology (BIO 3421)
Histology (BIO 3480)
Neurobiology (BIO 4300/5300)

Research Interests

Research in the García lab has been oriented towards questions about how cells communicate with one another and how their response to communiqués results in changes to the cells that are easily viewed under a microscope.  Our particular focus has been on the retinal pigment epithelium in the eyes of fishes, which contain pigment granules that undergo dramatic changes in their distribution as the animals experience changes in light levels. We are particularly interested in the processes that drive both acute and evolutionary changes as animals go from light to dark environments. One research goal is to connect the dots from membrane to motor, illuminating all the players and steps from release of signals in the dark to signals gaining access to the retinal pigment epithelium to binding their receptors to molecular motors hauling organelles along tracks in the cell. Side trips on our journey have taken us into questions about development, evolution, glia, and science education and achievement.

Selected Publications

Cell Signaling, Cytoskeleton and Cell Motility

Tovar, R. U. , V. Cantu, B. Fremaux, P. Gonzalez Jr., A. Spikes, D. M. García. 2021. Comparative development and ocular histology between epigean and subterranean salamanders (Eurycea) from central Texas. PeerJ 9:e11840

Wilson, W. W., D. M. García and M. R. J. Forstner. 2021. Examination of single nucleotide polymorphisms from a partial coding region of the melanocortin 1 receptor from melanistic and wild-type white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus texanus). Uttar Pradesh Journal of Zoology 42(2):34-40.

Ibarra, D. E., D. E. Wiebe, T. Mireles, A. Pattillo, T. Roberts, T. S. Wood, C. Przybylski, C. Rodriguez and D. M. García. 2020. A method for quantifying pigment position in retinal pigment epithelium.  Experimental Eye Research 195, published on-line.

Nuckels, R. J., C. C. Nice and D. M. García.  2019. Duplicated myosin V genes in teleosts show evolutionary rate variations among the motor and cargo binding domains. Genome Biology and Evolution 11(2): 415-430.

Villarreal, M. A., N. M. Biediger, N. A. Bonner, J. N. Miller, S. K. Zepeda, B. J. Ricard, D. M. García and K. A. Lewis. 2017.  Determining zebrafish epitope reactivity to commercially available antibodies.  Zebrafish 14(4): 387-389.

Nuckels, R. J., M. R. J. Forstner, E. L. Capalbo-Pitts, D. M. García. 2011. Developmental expression of muscarinic receptors in the eyes of zebrafish. Brain Res. 1405:85-94. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2011.06.016. Epub 2011 Jun 15. PubMed PMID: 21741623.

Koke J. R., A. L. Mosier and D. M. García.  2010. Intermediate filaments of zebrafish retinal and optic nerve astrocytes and Müller glia: Differential distribution of cytokeratin and GFAP. BMC Research Notes 3:50.

Johnson, A. S. and D. M. García.  2007.  Carbachol-mediated pigment granule dispersion in retinal pigment epithelium requires Ca2+ and calcineurin.  BMC Cell Biology 8:53.

Keith, T. A., V. Radhakrishnan, S. Moredock and D. M. García. 2006. Uptake of 3H- cAMP by retinal pigment epithelium isolated from bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus). BMC Neuroscience 7:82.

Phatarpekar, P. V., S. F. Durdan, C. M. Copeland, E. L. Crittenden, J. D. Neece and D. M. García. 2005.  Molecular and pharmacological characterization of muscarinic receptors in retinal pigment epithelium.  J. Neurochem.  95(5):1504-1520.

García, D. M., H. Bauer, T. Dietz, T. Schubert, J. Markl and M. Schaffeld. 2005.  Identification of keratins and analysis of their expression in carp and goldfish: comparison to the zebrafish and trout keratin catalog.  J. Cell and Tissue Research. 322(2):245-256.

González, A. III., E. Crittenden and D. M. García.  2004.  Carbachol-induced pigment granule dispersion in RPE.  BMC Neuroscience 5:23.

García, D. M., S. E. Weigum and J. R. Koke.  2003.  GFAP and nuclear lamins share an epitope recognized by monoclonal antibody J1-31.  Brain Research 976(1):9-21.

Weigum, S. E., D. M. García, T. R. Raabe, N. Christodoulides and J. R. Koke. 2003.  Discrete nuclear structures in actively growing neuroblastoma cells are revealed by antibodies raised against phosphorylated neurofilament proteins.  BMC Neuroscience 4:6.

Dixson, J. D., M. R. J. Forstner and D. M. García.  2003.  Evolutionary history of the alpha-actinin gene family: a phylogenetic study. J. Molecular Evolution 56(1):1- 10.

Glass, T. L., T. R. Raabe, D. M. García and J. R. Koke.  2002.  Phosphorylated neurofilaments and SNAP-25 in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells in vitro. Brain Research 934(1):34-48.

García, D. M. 1998.  Carbachol-induced pigment granule dispersion in teleost RPE. Cytobios 94:31-37.

Bolanos, S. H., D. O. Zamora, D. M. García, and J. R. Koke.  1998.  An a-actinin isoform that may cross-link intermediate filaments and microfilaments. Cytobios 94:39- 61.

King-Smith, C., P. Chen, D. M. García, H. Rey and B. Burnside.  1996.  Calcium- independent regulation of pigment granule aggregation and dispersion in teleost retinal pigment epithelial cells.  Journal of Cell Science109:33-43.

García, D. M. and B. Burnside.  1994.  Suppression of cAMP induced pigment granule aggregation by inhibitors of organic anion transport.  Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 35:178-188.



Neve, L. D., A. A. Savage, J. R. Koke and D. M. García.  2012.  Activating transcription factor 3 and reactive astrocytes following optic nerve injury in zebrafish.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, part C155(2):213-218doi:10.1016/j.cbpc.2011.08.006.

Saul, K. E., J. R. Koke and D. M. García. 2010.  Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) expression in the neural retina and optic nerve of zebrafish during optic nerve regeneration.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, part AMolecular & Integrative Physiology, 155:172-182.

García, D. M. and J. R. Koke.  2009.  Astrocytes as gate-keepers in optic nerve regeneration – a mini-review.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 152(2):135-138.

Tiffany-Castiglioni, E., D. M. García, J.-N. Wu, J. Zmudzki, G. R. Bratton.  1988.  Effects of lead on viability and intracellular metal content of C6 rat glioma cells.  Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health 23(2): 267-279.


Science Education

Ashford-Hanserd, S.N., K.L. Daniel, D. García, Y. Lerma and R. Pedroso. 2021. Influences on Historically Underrepresented Minority Students' Decisions to Enroll and Persist in STEM Majors. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of NARST: A Worldwide Organization for Improving Science Teaching and Learning through Research.

Idema, J., K.L. Daniel, S. Ashford-Hanserd and D. García. 2020. Factors influencing Biology majors' persistence in their degree. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of NARST: A Worldwide Organization for Improving Science Teaching and Learning through Research. Conference cancelled due to COVID-19.

Ashford-Hanserd, S., K. L. Daniel, D. M. García and J. Idema.  2020. Factors that influence persistence of minority students in STEM majors at a Hispanic Serving Institution.  Journal of Research in Technical Careers4(1).

Schwartz, R., J. Westerlund, D. García and T. Taylor.  2010.  The impact of full immersion scientific research experiences on teachers’ views of the nature of science.  Electronic Journal of Science Education 14:2.

Westerlund, J. F., D. M. García, J. R. Koke, T. A. Taylor and D. S. Mason.  2002.  Summer scientific research for teachers: the experience and its effect.  J. Science Teacher Education 13(1):63-83.

Complete list at: Google Scholar

Please see faculty member’s CV or website for additional information.