Center for Conservation Biology

Staff and Students

 Graduate Students


Kim-Hyeon Jeong in front of trees


Hyeon Jeong Kim

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.



Will Sano

Will Sano earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 2016, where he researched the microbial communities of fermented foods and antibiotic-induced dysbiosis in the murine gut microbiome.
As a PhD student with the Center for Conservation Biology, Will is investigating the gut microbiome of reproductive female Southern Resident killer whales (SRKWs; Orcinus orca) in the Salish Sea.  The mammalian gut microbiome changes dramatically during gestation, supporting maternal and fetal health, and SRKWs experience a high rate of spontaneous abortions and stillbirths. Using fecal samples collected by our detection dogs, Will is tracking the SRKW microbiome and metabolome throughout successful and unsuccessful pregnancies to characterize the relationship between reproductive females and their resident microbes.

Current Undergrad Lab Assistants

Sammi Cheung ’21, Gwen Ellis ’21, Elen Pettigrew

Lab Manager

Ada holds a tiny bat in her right hand.

Ada Kaliszewska, PhD

After receiving her PhD from Harvard,( When caterpillars attack: Biogeography and life history evolution of the Miletinae (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) ), Dr. Kaliszewska moved to Seattle for a Postdoc position at the University of Washington with Dr. Sharlene Santana and Dr. Jeff Riffel working on Chance or necessity? Adaptive vs. non adaptive evolution in plant-frugivore interactions. In April 2019 she landed at The Center for Conservation Biology to lead our lab team. 


Laboratory Research Scientists


Man in lab coat stands with grey plastic funnel like device in his hand

Yves Hoareau

Currently working on the ivory tracking project, Yves is passionate about nature and wants to dedicate his career to wildlife preservation. Yves originates from France where he studied Biodiversity, Ecology, Ethology, Evolution, Genetics, Population Biology, and Programming. Attracted by the wonders of the Rockies, he came to the U.S to 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.






Kin-Lan Han, PhD



Conservation Canines Staff

Woman and dog in field with mountains and sunset in distance

 Julianne Ubigau- Education and Outreach Coordinator

Julie not only works as a handler for CK9 but also developed our Education program through her experience as a Science on Wheels and secondary science teacher. Just as she has a knack for getting dogs to trust her, she is able to use that knack to walk into a new classroom and have the students enthralled by her every word. She’s been an integral part of CK9 since she started in 2006 having taken on some of CK9’s more exploratory projects and making them a success.


Woman sits in a field of grass with black and tan dog

Tammy Rock- Research Scientist / dog handler

Tammy is our resident Dog Whisperer. She ensures our hard working dogs are healthy, happy and on target.  Tammy oversees their continued training so they are always ready for duty and puts their noses to work in the field. Her years of working with dogs in various ways informs her strong work ethic and deep knowledge base.





Deborah Giles, PhD- Research Tech

Giles received her PhD from the University of California Davis in 2014. Her master’s thesis and PhD dissertation both focused on the federally listed southern resident killer whales. Formerly the research director at the Center for Whale Research, she is currently a resident scientist and lecturer at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs, where she teaches Marine Mammals of the Salish Sea and Marine Biology.

Since 2009 Giles has been the vessel captain for Dr. Wasser’s project  – utilizing a scat detection dog to locate floating killer whale scat to monitor the physiological health of southern resident killer whales.

Giles is also the science and research director with the non-profit Wild Orca and she is the killer whale scientific adviser for the Orca Salmon Alliance, a program advisor for Killer Whale Tales, and is on the Steering Committee for the Salish Sea Ecosystem Advocates (SalishSEA).


Woman in red coat and green hat sits at the back of a boat looking off to the right

Sadie Youngstrom- Research Tech

Sadie is a dedicated and engaging biology field research professional with expertise in marine wildlife and experience that includes extensive data collection and analysis spanning tropical and cold/arctic environments, salt, and fresh water ecosystems. She is passionate about studying animal behavior and promoting animal welfare. Sadie has contributed to various organizations and causes; including but not limited to endangered Southern Resident killer whale, humpback whale, Steller sea lion, harbor and Hawaiian monk seal population analysis, sea bird monitoring, salmonid habitat and abundance, vessel operation, public training and education.

Sadie earned her B.S. in Marine Biology and minored in Environmental Science from Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, Alaska in 2008 (Thesis: “Monitoring Human Disturbance on Molting Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) and Common Mergansers (Mergus merganser) in Prince William Sound, Alaska:  Effects of Motorized Vessels and Sea Kayaks.”  She has held a U.S Coast Guard captain’s license since 2002 and currently is endorsed as a master up to 100 tons in near coastal waters.

In her off time, Sadie explores the wonders that planet Earth has to offer.



Woman stands on jetty in lake with a brindle colored dog

Rachel Katz- Research Scientist / dog handler

After years of dedication to her first career in the US Air Force, Rachel had aspirations to contribute to the field of conservation and joined CK9 in 2017. She has conducted surveys on multiple carnivore studies and is continuously adding more complex targets to her portfolio.



Administrative Support Staff


Close up of woman with short brown hair


Keely Wolfram

After a career in the private sector, Keely joined CCB in early 2017. Having served as board president of Nature Consortium for 4 years, she is familiar with the needs of a non-profit and enjoys the inner workings of UW. Her role as Program Operations Specialists enlists her love of organization and structure, ensuring staff and projects are always moving forward.




CCB Alumni