Center for Conservation Biology

CCB Alumni

Yue Shi, PhD: Center for Conservation Biology

The annual migration of Chiru (Pantholops hodgsonii) from their winter ranges to traditional birthing grounds is one of the earth’s ecological spectacles. To better understand it, during their migration season Ms. Shi collected Chiru fecal samples, from which she obtained genetic, hormonal and microbiome information, resulting in a rich dataset that sheds light on how migration may be the key to genetic resilience in the face of dramatic population decline and how natural history, physical constraints and the environment interact to shape female reproductive behavior.

Jennifer Mae White Day, PhD: Center for Conservation Biology

Jennifer earned her PhD at CCB 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 focused on wide-ranging carnivore species, such as the jaguar and puma, in patchy environments. Her dissertation work will be applicable to many other wildlife species faced with human encroachment on natural habitats.

Misa Winters: Research Scientist

Misa became part of the ivory team in 2014 and acted as our project manager and resident methods guru. She received her MS in Zoology from Washington State University and applied 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.

Rebecca Booth: Research Scientist, Lab Manager

Rebecca Nelson Booth conducted hormone and DNA analyses on the wide variety of animal species studied by the CCB for 16 years. She is dedicated to combining her love and passion for wildlife and the environment with lab techniques and experiments that facilitate conservation.

Ellie Reese: Research Scientist

Ellie joined the CCB team in 2016 and worked on the ivory tracking project and the NE Washington carnivore diet study. A Washington state native, she received her MS in Biology from the University of California, San Diego before returning to her home in the pacific northwest.

Tara Wilson: Research Scientist

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. She worked 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!

Amy Torkelson: Research Scientist

Amy joined the CCB in 2013 and managed the ivory project.  She is a UW Biology graduate with a background in cardiac repair and stem cell research.  After exposure to various research techniques, she came to the CCB to pursue her passion for wildlife conservation.  Amy’s love for nature and wildlife is a driving force in her life and she loved being part of a project making a difference in the illegal ivory trade.

Samrat Mondol: Research Affiliate

Samrat collaborated with CCB to validate and integrate noninvasive hormone analyses into a broader program that included 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.

Shaili Johri: Post Doctoral, Center for Conservation Biology

Shaili obtained her Ph.D in Human Genetics from the University of Utah, and brought her expertise in molecular genetics and molecular biology to the Wasser lab. She used this knowledge to determine changes in the ecosystem due to the return of wolves, as apex predators, in North East Washington.. Shaili also helped to develop methods for toxin detection/identification and gene expression analyses on killer whale scats. She used these metrics to study killer whale health with respect to environmental pollutants in the Salish Sea.

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: Research Scientist

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: Research Scientist

She researched the effects of wolf recolonization on mesocarnivores, specifically Canada lynx, bobcat and coyote. She used 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, Department of Biology.

Carly’s principal research interest was 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.