The Zoo will be closed Saturday, Jan. 29, due to winter weather.

The Zoo is open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Entry passes are required for all guests, including infants. All visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask in all indoor spaces at the Zoo, regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated visitors do not need to wear a mask in outdoor areas. Select animal buildings remain closed.

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Pei-Chih Lee, Ph.D.

Research Biologist
B.S. and M.S., National Taiwan University; Ph.D., Northwestern University
Pei-Chih Lee is a research specialist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Center for Species Survival. Lee’s research includes both basic and applied reproductive biology, focusing on feline species. Using the domestic cat model, she is developing a more economical preservation technique that allows gametes and tissues to be stored without the need of liquid nitrogen.
Along with her collaborators, Lee has successfully demonstrated the potential of applying microwave-assisted drying technique to the preservation of the germinal vesicles of cat oocytes. Her work on the molecular regulation of cat oogenesis provided unique insight for the understanding and future evaluation of assisted reproduction techniques of felids. Lee also assists with maintaining the Smithsonian's National Zoo’s genome resource bank. These cryopreserved collections are great resources to study and sustain biodiversity.
Lee earned her bachelor's degree in zoology and Master of Science in molecular medicine from National Taiwan University. She earned her doctorate in molecular biosciences from Northwestern University. She joined the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in 2012, where she works alongside Pierre Comizzoli to apply her expertise in molecular biology to the study of feline reproduction.
Recent Publications: 

Lee, Pei-Chih, Adams, Daniella M., Amelkina, Olga, White, Kylie K., Amoretti, Luigi A., Whitaker, Marinda G. and Comizzoli, Pierre. 2019. Influence of microwave-assisted dehydration on morphological integrity and viability of cat ovarian tissues: First steps toward long-term preservation of complex biomaterials at supra-zero temperatures. PloS One, Article e0225440. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225440

Lee, Pei-Chih and Comizzoli, Pierre. 2019. Desiccation and supra-zero temperature storage of cat germinal vesicles lead to less structural damage and similar epigenetic alterations compared to cryopreservation. Molecular Reproduction & Development, 1822-1831. https://doi.org/10.1002/mrd.23276
Lee, P. C., Wildt, David E. and Comizzoli, Pierre. 2018. Proteomic analysis of germinal vesicles in the domestic cat model reveals candidate nuclear proteins involved in oocyte competence acquisition. Molecular Human Reproduction, 14-26. https://doi.org/10.1093/molehr/gax059