Laboratory staff and students
Rebecca Nelson Booth conducts hormone and DNA analyses on the wide variety of animal species studied by the CCB since 2003. She is dedicated to combining her love and passion for wildlife and the environment with lab techniques and experiments that facilitate conservation.
Laboratory Research Scientists
Project Lead: Amy Torkelson
Misa became part of the ivory team in 2014 and now acts as our resident methods guru. She received her MS in Zoology from Washington State University and applies her 4 years of ancient DNA experience (Kemp lab of Molecular Anthropology and Ancient DNA) to continue optimizing our DNA retrieval from scat and ivory. Misa has a huge love for all animals and enjoys being part of the CCB’s mission to apply non-invasive forensic methods to the illegal wildlife trade and ecological research.
Currently working on the poached ivory tracking project, Yves is passionate about Nature and want to dedicate his career to Wildlife preservation. Yves originates from France where he studied Biodiversity, Ecology, Ethology, Evolution, Genetics, Population Biology, Programming, etc. Attracted by the wonders of the Rockies, he came in the U.S and first work at the University of Montana on numerous conservation subjects. Yves is now part of the team, sharing his diverse experiences to further help Wildlife conservation.
Tara received her BS from UW in Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management: Wildlife Conservation and a minor in Quantitative Science. She started volunteering at the CCB in 2013 as an undergrad. Currently, she works on hormones and DNA from a variety of projects. Originally a Detroit native, she moved to the Pacific Northwest for its striking beauty and vast wildlife gradients. She enjoys being surrounded by her two favorite passions: science and wildlife!
Samrat is collaborating with our Center to validate and integrate noninvasive hormone analyses into a broader program that includes monitoring the distribution, abundance and physiological health of tigers and leopards across India, as well forensic applications to the illegal wildlife trade. The latter includes developing a user-friendly version of the Smoothed-Continuous Assignment Method (SCAT) our Center developed to assign poached material to its place of origin. Samrat also collaborates with other members of our team on method development applied to a wide variety of vertebrates.
Shaili obtained her Ph.D in Human genetics from the University of Utah, and brings her expertise in molecular genetics and molecular biology to the Wasser lab. She is currently developing a molecular method for reliable predator and prey species identification from scat. She will use this method to determine changes in the ecosystem due to the return of wolves, as apex predators, in North East Washington. She is also interested in developing the gut microbiome as a metric to determine the health of an ecosystem and any disturbances in an ecosystem due to habitat modification. Shaili is also working to develop methods for toxin detection/identification and gene expression analyses on killer whale scats. She will use these metrics to study killer whale health with respect to environmental pollutants in the Salish Sea.
Jennifer Mae White-Day
Jennifer MW Day is a graduate student researching landscape genetic patterns of jaguar and puma in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. She is interested in quantifying the relationship between geographic characteristics and spatially explicit genetic information. Her research focuses on wide-ranging carnivore species, such as the jaguar and puma, in patchy environments. By investigating the relationships between human land use, wildlife movement patterns, and phylogeography, Jennifer will create a spatial assessment of the Yucatan’s conservation priorities. Her dissertation work will be applicable to many other wildlife species faced with human encroachment on natural habitats.
Yue Shi is a graduate student in the Biology Department at the UW. She is interested to use the non-invasive research tools pioneered by the Center to study the Tibetan antelopes (Chirus)’ migration on the Tibetan Plateau. Her research will focus on identification of the calving grounds of chirus and how anthropogenic activities such as highway, fencing, mining and oil development would increase the cost of migration for these animals.
Hyeon Jeong (HJ) Kim is a graduate student working towards developing a genetic
tool to track the illegal poaching of pangolins. She is interested in expanding and applying
the genetic and statistical techniques currently used for ivory origin assignment to help locate the source of poaching for species of pangolins world-wide. Her research will include identifying a set of genetic markers (SNPs) for population assignment tests, creating a genetic reference map of pangolin populations, and developing field methods for scientific sampling of poached pangolin seizures.
Jessica Lundin: PhD, Center for Conservation Biology.
Jessica was a EPA STAR Fellow with a focus in environmental toxicology. Jessica’s research project dissertation monitored and evaluated contamination in the Puget Sound ecosystem by using detection dogs to collect scat from the endangered Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW).
Celia Mailand: Center for Conservation Biology.
Celia assisted in the genetic tracking of poached elephant ivory and went on to optimize methods to extract DNA from ivory. She has played an important role in creating the geographic-based map of elephant gene frequencies, used to assign large ivory seizures to their places of origin.
Emily Owens: M.Sc.BT, Department of Biology.
She worked on developing an aldosterone assay, an adrenal hormone involved in the regulation of salt, potassium, fluid, and blood pressure.
Carolyn Shores: Center for Conservation Biology.
She is researching the effects of wolf recolonization on mesocarnivores, specifically Canada lynx, bobcat and coyote. She plans to use the non-invasive tools pioneered by the Center for Conservation Biology to study whether wolf recolonization aids recovery of the endangered Canada lynx population in Washington state by stabilizing coyote populations.
Lisa Hayward: Post Doctoral, Center for Conservation Biology.
Lisa collaborated with Dr. Sam Wasser, as well as managers from U.S Fish and Wildlife and the U.S Forest Service, and motorcycle riders from the Blue Ribbon Coalition to examine the effects of off-road vehicle use on the physiology, behavior and reproductive output of the northern spotted owl.
Kathleen Gobush: PhD, Center for Conservation Biology.
Her research examined long term impacts of poaching on a population of wild elephants in Tanzania that was severely poached in the 1980’s. She investigated how elephant group composition impacts their competitive ability, reproductive output and stress physiology using non-invasive fecal hormone and molecular techniques.
Carly Vynne: PhD, Depart of Biology.
Carly’s principal research interest is in understanding the functional connectivity of landscapes from the perspective of wide-ranging mammals. Her PhD research combined fieldwork, DNA and hormone analysis and spatial modeling to understand the influence of a changing landscape on the plight of unique and endangered species of the South American savannas.
Katherine Ayres: PhD, Department of Biology.
Katherine made a dramatic change in study systems to killer whales for her dissertation work. She has a keen interest in the use of non-invasive physiological monitoring tools and understanding how persistent organic pollutants disrupt the endocrine system.
Lynn Erckmann: Research Technologist.
Lynn performed hormone radioimmunoassays for the Center’s laboratory to help play a part in the research that promotes wildlife conservation with endangered species.