Dr. Rachel Simmons

College of Letters and Sciences
Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Contact Details

College of Letters and Sciences

Dr. Simmons earned her PhD in Genetics at UC Davis, and a BS and MS in Biology with a specialization in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution at UC San Diego. During her education she taught classes at UC San Diego and UC Davis and worked at local San Diego biotechnology firms Axiom Biotechnologies (now Sequenom) and HK Pharmaceuticals. After completing her dissertation she consulted for a biotechnology firm, Scidera Inc., and performed postdoctoral research at UC Davis and UC San Diego.

At National University, Dr. Simmons has taught Introductory Biology (BIO 100, 100A, and 162), Genetics (BIO 305) and Molecular Biology (BIO 407 and 407A) and is developing a course in Bioinformatics.

Dr. Simmons has used genetic tools to look at ecological and evolutionary patterns of diverse species. Her previous research includes heterozygote deficiencies in slipper snails in Mission Bay, evolutionary relationships of gibbons in Southeast Asia for species identification in North American Zoos, and patterns of evolution, hybridization and paternity in several subspecies of rainbow trout in California.

Her current research and collaborations use statistical analyses in education assessment and genetic tools to estimate environmental microbial diversity in a wide array of settings, including the effects of native plant roots on microbial soil communities, differences in microbial community composition on ocean plastics, and testing for differences in microbial species on skin samples of whales. She welcomes student participation in these projects or the opportunity to work with students on related projects of their own.


Carmona-Catot, G., P. B. Moyle, and R. E. Simmons. 2012. Long-term captive breeding does not necessarily prevent reestablishment: lessons learned from Eagle Lake rainbow trout. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 22(1):325-342.

Simmons, R. E., P. Lavretsky, and B. P. May. 2010. Introgressive hybridization of redband trout in the upper McCloud River watershed, Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 139:201-213.

Monda, K., R. E. Simmons, P. Kresserir, B. Su, and D. S. Woodruff. 2007. Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation and phylogeny of the concolor gibbons, Nomascus. American Journal of Primatology 69:1285-1306.

Plutchak, L. L., R. E. Simmons, and D. S. Woodruff. 2006. Multilocus allozyme heterozygote deficiencies in Crepidula onyx: geographic and temporal patterns among adult snails in Mission Bay, California. Journal of Molluscan Studies 72:337-48.

Woodruff, D. S., K. Monda, and R. E. Simmons. 2005. Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation and subspecific taxonomy in the white-handed gibbon, Hylobates lar. Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University 1:71-8.