I am a conservation biologist and geneticist in the Center for Species Survival at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C., USA. I am also a Leading Researcher in the Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics at Saint Petersburg State University in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I use genetic and genomic methods to understand the patterns and processes of divergence among genes, populations, and species.
My current research is focused on developing and applying state-of-the-art genomic data and tools to address the conservation and management of captive and wild populations of endangered species of mammals. I am especially interested in using data and results obtained from genetic or genomic studies in enhancing or transforming management and policies related to endangered species preservation. I am also interested in the molecular evolution of the mammalian order Carnivora (dogs, cats, bears, seals and their kin) and my research uses population genetic and phylogenetic tools to elucidate the evolutionary history within and among carnivoran species in the context of paleoenvironmental history. Research projects I have been involved with over the years include developing and applying genome-wide SNPs to understand genetic diversity in ex situ populations of various species of African antelope, conservation genomics of the endangered black-footed ferret, genetic analysis of African and Eurasian golden jackals, and molecular phylogenetics of mustelids.
I serve on the council of the Genome 10K Consortium, which aims to generate and assemble the genomes of 10,000 vertebrate species. I earned a Ph.D. in biology at the University of California Los Angeles in 2002. I was a Cancer Research Training Fellow at the National Cancer Institute from 2009-2012. In 2016, I was awarded the Smithsonian Institution’s prestigious George E. Burch Fellowship in Theoretic Medicine and Affiliated Theoretic Science. I have authored or co-authored almost 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters. Most importantly, I am passionate about fostering and teaching the next generation of conservation and genomic scientists around the world.
A list of my publications can be found on my Google Scholar webpage