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Katharine M. Pelican, DVM, Ph.D., Reproductive Physiologist

Department of Reproductive Sciences

Education

Wesleyan University, B.A., Science in Society Program, 1992

University of Minnesota, D.V.M., Veterinary Medicine, 1997

University of Maryland, Ph.D., Reproductive Physiology, 2002

Professional History and Interests

Katharine Pelican has a diversity of interests in endangered species reproduction and conservation. Her research has combined skills in clinical veterinary medicine, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, clinical endocrinology, gamete metabolism and noninvasive hormonal monitoring to overcome challenges to reproduction in endangered carnivores.

Pelican’s Ph.D. dissertation focused on controlling female fertility for in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination in felids. She developed a novel hormonal protocol that has now been applied to several endangered cat species, including the cheetah, clouded leopard and fishing cat. She continues to investigate new combinations of hormones to further improve breeding success in genetically valuable rare female cats. These include domestic cats used as models for studying human diseases as well as endangered felids.

Pelican has been awarded a prestigious Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. She also has received funding to pursue developing a cross-species noninvasive pregnancy test.

Pelican also is applying her skills as a leading researcher in an interdisciplinary project to conserve the endangered clouded leopard in Thailand. Goals include improving breeding of clouded leopards in Thai zoos, monitoring this species in Thai National Parks and training Thai personnel in zoos and National Parks. She also is using her background in gamete biology and noninvasive hormonal monitoring to assess the impact of improved management and diet on reproductive traits and stress hormone concentrations. She also has participated in training Thai students and personnel in clouded leopard management and reproduction.

The primary goal of all of Pelican’s work is the conservation and improved management of critically endangered species in captivity and in the wild through effective collaboration and scientific investigation.

Five Selected Publications

Pelican, K.M., M.A. Ottinger, D.E. Wildt and J.G. Howard. Ovarian suppression with the progestin levonorgestrel but not the GnRH antagonist antide induces a consistent response to gonadotropin stimulation in the domestic cat (in preparation).

Pelican, K.M., M.A. Ottinger, R.E. Spindler, D.E. Wildt and J.G. Howard. Ovarian suppression with the progestin levonorgestrel but not the GnRH antagonist antide improves IVF in the domestic cat (in preparation).

Pelican, K.M., M.A. Ottinger, J.L. Brown, D.E. Wildt and J.G. Howard. Ovarian suppression with the progestin levonorgestrel improves ovarian induction for artificial insemination in the domestic cat (in preparation).

Pelican, K.M., D.E. Wildt and J.G. Howard. 2001. Short-term inhibition of ovarian activity using the GnRH agonist, leuprolide acetate, in the clouded leopard. Theriogenology Suppl. 55:394.

Pukazhenthi, B.S., E. Noiles, K.M. Pelican, A.M. Donoghue, D.E. Wildt and J.G. Howard. 2000. Osmotic effects on feline spermatozoa from normospermic versus teratospermic donors. Cryobiology 40:139-150.

Contact

mailSmithsonian's National Zoo
Conservation & Research Center
1500 Remount Road
Front Royal, VA 22630

phonePhone 540.635.6593; Fax 540.635.6506