Research Scientist / Center for Species Survival
Pierre Comizzoli has worked as a veterinarian in French Guyana to study the seasonal reproduction of different mammalian species living in the rain forest. He has been in charge of reproductive and health monitoring programs (sheep, goat and cattle) in the African Sahelo-Saharan region. These professional experiences, involving wildlife and tropical veterinary medicine, allowed him to study different aspects of reproductive biology in various animal species. Dr. Comizzoli then decided to do Master and a Ph.D. on reproductive biotechnologies (artificial insemination, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, gamete and embryo cryopreservation) in bovine and deer species (red deer and Japanese sika deer). He described an original effect of the paternal component on early embryo development in both species, and produced in vitro the first transferable embryos in red deer and Japanese sika deer. After completing his Ph.D., he has worked on the implementation of assisted reproductive techniques and genome resource banking for the conservation of ungulate species at the National Museum of Natural History of Paris. In 2002, Dr. Comizzoli joined the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at the National Zoological Park in Washington DC as a staff scientist to develop new projects on gamete and gonadal tissue cryo-banking for rare and endangered species. His comparative research on fertility preservation in various wild and domestic animal species creates interesting bridges with human reproductive medicine. In addition to basic research activities, Dr. Comizzoli is coordinating a Smithsonian-wide initiative to improve the management and use of biomaterial and environmental repositories within the Institution. He also is in charge of conservation projects on wild carnivores and ungulates in Northern Africa (Chair of the Scientific Committee of the Sahara Conservation Fund) as well as in South-East Asia (Member of the IUCN/SSC Saola Working Group). Dr. Comizzoli has received several professional awards including the Smithsonian Secretary’s Research Prize (2008 and 2012) and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2011) for his innovative work on fertility preservation. More recently, he has received the Innovation Award from the National Research Council of Thailand (2012) for the first Eld’s deer fawn born after in vitro fertilization.
Graves-Herring, Jennifer, Wildt, David E. and Comizzoli, Pierre. Retention of Structure and Function of the Cat Germinal Vesicle after Air-Drying and Storage at Supra-Zero Temperature, Biology of Reproduction, 88 (6) 1-7. 2013.
Hribal, R., Jewgenow, K., Braun, B. and Comizzoli, Pierre. Influence of Culture Medium Composition on Relative mRNA Abundances in Domestic Cat Embryos, Reproduction in Domestic Animals, 48 (2) 245-251. 2013.
Buarpung, S., Tharasanit, T., Comizzoli, Pierre and Techakumphu, M. Feline spermatozoa from fresh and cryopreserved testicular tissues have comparable ability to fertilize matured oocytes and sustain the embryo development after intracytoplasmic sperm injection, Theriogenology, 79 (1) 149-158. 2012.
Buarpung, Sirirak, Tharasanit, Theerawat, Comizzoli, Pierre and Techakumphu, Mongkol. Effects of cold storage on plasma membrane, DNA integrity and fertilizing ability of feline testicular spermatozoa, Animal Reproduction Science, 131 (3-4) 219-227. 2012.
Comizzoli, Pierre and Wildt, David E. On the Horizon for Fertility Preservation in Domestic and Wild Carnivores, Reproduction in Domestic Animals, 47 (Supplement S6) 261-265. 2012.