Brian Gratwicke is a conservation biologist and leads the amphibian conservation programs at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Brian’s focus is building capacity to conserve amphibians in Appalachia and Panama, developing outreach and educational programs and exhibits to build public support for amphibian conservation, and research to develop tools to reintroduce amphibians back into the wild. At SCBI, Brian collaborates with Panamanian conservation biologists and zoo partners to build an ex situ amphibian facility in Panama. The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project based at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa maintains and grows captive assurance populations of species most heavily affected by the deadly amphibian chytrid fungus. One major research focus is developing applied solutions for the amphibian chytrid fungus, including research into the area of beneficial skin bacteria and identifying genetic traits associated with resistance to the disease. He also conducts research into emerging diseases and the effects of climate change on Appalachian salamanders.
Gratwicke grew up in Zimbabwe and began his conservation work researching the impacts to freshwater fish in Africa. In 2000, he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship that took him to Oxford, where he studied marine fish communities in the British Virgin Islands for his doctorate. After completing his doctorate, Gratwicke moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a program administrator and then assistant director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Save the Tiger Fund.