Jesus Maldonado has been a research geneticist at the Center for Conservation Genomics at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) since 1998. His research applies molecular genetics tools to answer basic and applied questions in conservation and evolutionary biology in mammals. Much of his research involves assessment of genetic variation within and among populations and species to document levels of inbreeding and determine units of evolutionary, taxonomic and conservation significance. He has a long list of Smithsonian collaborators and has established partnerships with several researchers in Latin American, India and Africa. This allowed him to design a strong conservation genetics program that is international in scope.
Beyond theoretical aspects of his research, outcomes from many studies have direct applications to helping address critical conservation issues in a variety of threatened and endangered mammals. Maldonado developed a research program that follows an academic model, and most of his projects over the past several years are based on collaborations established with students, postdoctoral fellows and research scientists/curators at the Smithsonian and other academic institutions and conservation communities. He is also interested in studying micro-evolutionary processes that shape genetic variation and evolutionary trajectories, as well as landscape genetics and genomics. During the last 16 years, he has developed and utilized non-invasive genetic techniques and ancient DNA technologies for obtaining reliable information to study many elusive endangered mammal species. Maldonado has over 100 peer reviewed publications in scientific journals including Science, Molecular Ecology, PLoS ONE, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Proceedings Royal Society B and has served in the editorial board of several journals including the Journal of Mammalogy, Conservation Genetics, PLos ONE and Therya.