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Rebecca Spindler

Manager, Research and Conservation.

Rebecca completed a PhD on embryonic diapause at the University of Melbourne in 1997. She left almost immediately for a position at the Smithsonian’s Conservation & Research Center. During this time, she developed novel embryo culture systems for rare and endangered species and spent 5 giant panda breeding seasons in the Wolong Nature Reserve where she helped establish the Giant Panda Genome Resource Bank and routine reproductive management. During this same period established the Smithsonian’s Neotropical Carnivore Initiative with Dr Nucharin Songsasen and with colleagues throughout the Americas, and spearheaded a multidisciplinary project aimed at improving the health, reproduction and conservation of jaguars. Rebecca moved to Toronto Zoo in 2004 to head up the reproductive department and initiated investigations into the role of genetic makeup on breeding strategies of wildlife species.

In April of 2007, she joined the team at the Taronga Zoo as Manager of Research and Conservation Programs focusing the research of Zoo scientists on wildlife ecology, behaviour, reproduction and health to inform best conservation practice. She is currently investigating the role of genes that control self-recognition and immune response (the major histo-compatibility complex; MHC) on mate choice in the Tasmanian Devil, with collaborator Kathy Belov.

Rebecca also chairs the Taronga Animal Ethics Committee and Conservation Committee and with collaborators from the IUCN has developed a scientifically based matrix to prioritise conservation and research projects.

Taronga Zoo, Dr. Rebecca Spindler