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.
Comizzoli, Pierre. Biotechnologies for wildlife fertility preservation, Animal Frontiers, 5 (1) 73-78. 2015.
Buarpung, Sirirak, Tharasanit, Theerawat, Thongkittidilok, Chommanart, Comizzoli, Pierre and Techakumphu, Mongkol. Spermatozoa isolated from cat testes retain their structural integrity as well as a developmental potential after refrigeration for up to 7 days, Zygote, . 2014.
Comizzoli, Pierre and Holt, William V. Recent advances and prospects in germplasm preservation of rare and endangered species, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 753 331-356. 2014.
Comizzoli, Pierre and Wildt, David E. Mammalian fertility preservation through cryobiology: value of classical comparative studies and the need for new preservation options, Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 26 (1) 91-98. 2014.
Fujihara, Mayako, Comizzoli, Pierre, Keefer, Carol L., Wildt, David E. and Songsasen, Nucharin. Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) Sustains In Vitro Primordial Follicle Viability by Enhancing Stromal Cell Proliferation via MAPK and PI3K Pathways in the Prepubertal, but Not Adult Cat Ovary, Biology of Reproduction, 90 (4) . 2014.