Erika Paulson is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Species Survival. Paulson’s research employs both embryo and cell culture techniques and molecular biology techniques for the study of preimplantation embryos and embryo implantation in mammals. She is particularly interested in the changes in gene expression and molecular events necessary for successful implantation of embryos in a receptive endometrium.

Paulson’s current projects use the domestic cat model to better understand embryo implantation. She uses both explant and three-dimensional culture systems to induce decidualization of domestic cat endometrial tissues and cells. These systems allow her to identify molecular changes necessary for embryo implantation, as well as study embryo-endometrial crosstalk in this developmental period.

Paulson is originally from California. She went to the University of California Santa Barbara for her undergraduate degree where she completed a B.S. in zoology. She then went on to the University of California Davis where she completed her Ph.D. in animal biology with a designated emphasis in reproductive biology. Her dissertation research was on changes in gene expression in preimplantation bovine embryos. She joined SCBI in 2020 as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Pierre Comizzoli’s laboratory at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C.