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.
B.S, M.S., Ph.D., University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
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.
Edwards, Katie L., Trotter, Jessica, Jones, Martin, Brown, Janine L., Steinmetz, Hanspeter W. and Walker, Susan L. 2016. Investigating temporary acyclicity in a captive group of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus): relationship between management, adrenal activity and social factors. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 104-116. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2015.09.011
Edwards, Katie L., Shultz, Susanne, Pilgrim, Mark and Walker, Susan L. 2015. Male reproductive success is correlated with testosterone in the eastern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli). General and comparative endocrinology, 40-49. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2014.12.015
Edwards, Katie L., Walker, Susan L., Dunham, Amy E., Pilgrim, Mark, Okita-Ouma, Benson and Shultz, Susanne. 2015. Low birth rates and reproductive skew limit the viability of Europe’s captive eastern black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis michaeli. Biodiversity and Conservation, 2831-2852. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10531-015-0976-7