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Katie L. Edwards, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
B.S, M.S., Ph.D., University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

Dr. Katie Edwards is a postdoctoral fellow for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, based in the Endocrinology Research Laboratory in Front Royal, Virginia. Edwards first joined SCBI in 2014 as a George E. Burch Postdoctoral Fellow and is currently supported by the Morris Animal Foundation. Her research is part of a multi-institutional study to investigate zoo elephant welfare, providing scientific evidence to guide management practices. Edwards' current focus is upon elephant health, understanding what pathologies are prevalent among elephants in North American zoos, how they may be associated with other factors within the zoo environment and developing tools to aid in their detection and management. Her main emphasis with this research is to develop novel tools to assess health and well-being, including markers of inflammation and disease.

Edwards earned her bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Liverpool, U.K. Her doctorate research was in collaboration with Chester Zoo, U.K., investigating factors associated with reproductive success in eastern black rhinoceros in European zoos. This was a multi-institutional study involving 90 percent of the European captive population; the collaborative research contributed to a ‘baby-boom’ of black rhinos in Europe, and was awarded the BIAZA best research project award in 2013. Edwards is also a professional member of the International Rhino Keeper Association and the Elephant Managers Association, as well as a member of the International Society of Wildlife Endocrinology.
Her past research has also incorporated behavioral endocrinology and population management, all lending to her overall goal of providing optimal conditions for ex situ populations to thrive and ultimately maximize the contribution they can make to global conservation efforts.
Recent Publications: 
Byron, Michael J., Koester, Diana C., Edwards, Katie L., Mozdziak, Paul E., Farin, Charlotte E. and Crosier, Adrienne E. 2020. Immunoglobulin J chain as a non-invasive indicator of pregnancy in the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus). PloS One, Article e0225354. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225354
Plangsangmas, Tithipong, Brown, Janine L., Thitaram, Chatchote, Silva-Fletcher, Ayona, Edwards, Katie L., Punyapornwithaya, Veerasak, Towiboon, Patcharapa and Somgird, Chaleamchat. 2020. Circadian Rhythm of Salivary Immunoglobulin A and Associations with Cortisol as A Stress Biomarker in Captive Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus). Animals, 157. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010157
Chave, Emmanuelle, Edwards, Katie L., Paris, Steve, Prado, Natalia, Morfeld, Kari A. and Brown, Janine L. 2019. Variation in metabolic factors and gonadal, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal hormones in association with musth in African and Asian elephant bulls. General and comparative endocrinology, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2019.02.005