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Oliver Rizk
Hlusko Lab

Oliver Rizk


Phone: (510) 643-8851

His Research: "My dissertation research examines the genetic basis for craniofacial morphological variation across domestic dog breeds. I am testing hypotheses of genetic association between patterns of shape change in dogs identified using a geometric morphometric approach and developmental genetic mutant mouse phenotypes from the literature. Hopefully this integration of mouse and dog data will identify similarities in genetic pathways across the two distantly related taxa that can provide a basis for interpreting similar morphological variation in other mammalian taxa, extant and extinct."

Why dogs? "I'm actually not a dog person at all, but I can appreciate the remarkable range of variation within this one species — not just in terms of facial morphology, but also size, coat color/texture, and behavior. Combined with the strict breeding practices that have produced such extremes across breeds, this variation presents a unique opportunity to relate phenotypic and genotypic variation. Its too bad sloths do not provide a similar opportunity because I find them to be fascinating (and adorable)."


Grieco, T.M., O.T. Rizk, and L.J. Hlusko. 2013. A modular framework characterizes micro- and macroevolution of Old World monkey dentitions. Evolution 67(1):241-59.

Rizk, O.T., S. Amugongo, M.C. Mahaney, and L.J. Hlusko. 2008. The quantitative genetic analysis of primate dental variation: History of the approach and prospects for the future. In: Technique and Application in Dental Anthropology (J.D. Irish and G.C. Nelson, eds). Cambridge University Press.