My current research focuses are: 1) developing and utilizing assisted reproductive technologies for improved carnivore reproduction; 2) understanding management-based causes of infertility in captive-held carnivores; 3) improving management and health for more efficient reproduction, and 4) evaluating the comparative reproduction, genomics and health of ex situ and wild cheetahs. 


We are currently conducting numerous research projects on cheetahs and black-footed ferrets including investigation into gastrointestinal microbiomes; assisted reproduction including artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization/embryo transfer; short-term reproductive suppression; and investigation of poor fertility due to abnormal reproductive microbiomes.  In addition to managing six keeper staff, I work with and train graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and interns, while pursuing my own research interests in ovarian function, pregnancy and assisted reproduction. 


I have been the SSP Program Leader for cheetahs since 2014, guiding the management of the 350+ cheetahs in the SSP.  In 2012, I was instrumental in the formation of the Breeding Centers Coalition Group (BCC).  The BCC works to increase husbandry knowledge and expertise, as well as cub production, by sharing information and improving collaboration across the 10 breeding centers.  The group regularly discusses high priority management, husbandry, and breeding challenges and has worked together to generate a larger number of cubs produced annually to increase effective population size, and stability and growth in the overall cheetah population. 


Research Interests

Understanding basic and comparative wildlife reproductive physiology and implementation of assisted reproductive technologies.

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An estimated 25 percent of carnivores are in danger of extinction. Smithsonian scientists are working to save them.

Does Group Management of Male Cheetahs Influence Reproductive Fitness?

Scientists are working to save cheetahs by studying how different conditions, such as range and coalition size, impact reproduction.

Gamete and Embryo Technologies

Smithsonian scientists study reproductive biology to advance conservation science.

Investigating AA Amyloidosis Prevalence in Cheetahs

Smithsonian scientists and partners are researching a disease that impacts cheetahs in human care and developing strategies to mitigate its effects.

Physiological Onset of Puberty in Cheetahs

Wildlife conservationists have learned a lot about cheetahs but still lack some important biological data, such as when these animals go through puberty.