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A tagged, antennaed whooping crane (Grus americana) is guided by ultralight aircraft to its new flight path.  (Joe Duff © Operation Migration USA, Inc.)


JUNE 22-25, 2020

Revive & Restore convened 57 participants from around the world over four days to examine conservation interventions and the values and beliefs shaping them. Participants contributed their perspective to facilitate discussion around scientific nuance, societal forces, and public perception. This group also worked to synthesize and propose a new Code of Practice for genetic interventions and how to communicate this new narrative. We’re thankful for everyone’s contributions and excited to build upon this event.


Four workshop sessions were held over two days (bookended by a welcome reception and a debrief). Access a PDF of the full agenda, here.



Presentations and discussion highlighting case study interventions: the intended consequences, the surprises, and the lessons learned.


Presentations and discussion on the intersection of values and conservation, with a focus on barriers to planning interventions.



Presentations and discussion highlighting case study interventions: the intended consequences, the surprises, and the lessons learned.


Presentations and discussion on cultural values and community perspectives towards conservation interventions.



Presentations on existing codes and guidelines followed by discussion on best approaches to developing a code of practice for genetic interventions.


Participants synthesize previous discussions and contribute to a tactical process to develop a code of practice for genetic interventions.



Presentations on risk analysis followed by a tactical discussion on integrating cost/risk/benefit analysis into a code of practice for genetic interventions.


Presentations and discussion on previous scientific outreach plans and discussion on developing outreach for Intended Consequences.





Bridget Baumgartner

Program manager, Catalyst Science Fund, Revive & Restore

Bridget Baumgartner joined Revive & Restore as the Program Manager of the Catalyst Science Fund in January 2019. With a background in molecular biology and genetics, Bridget brings five years of experience in program creation, development, and management as a contractor to the Biological Technologies Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While at DARPA, Bridget was responsible for driving high-risk, high-reward research and development initiatives in synthetic biology, aimed at promoting the use of green technologies to solve big problems. Certain projects in her portfolio also involved counteracting the impacts of climate change and reduced species diversity. Bridget has a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX and a B.S. in Biochemistry from Stony Brook University of New York.

Bridget will work closely with Revive & Restore leadership and the Catalyst Science Fund Advisory Council to develop an overarching investment and grant strategy designed to accelerate the creation of impactful innovations in conservation. She will work directly with the various research teams as they submit proposals, refine their scope of work, establish milestones, and oversee progress and deliverables. Establishing and growing this Catalyst Science Fund is a major focus for Revive & Restore in 2020.

Stewart Brand

Co-founder and President, The Long Now Foundation; Co-founder and Board of Directors, Revive & Restore 

Stewart Brand is co-founder of Revive & Restore and co-founder and president of The Long Now Foundation, where Revive & Restore was incubated for its first four years. The idea of bringing cutting-edge biotech to conservation first went public with Stewart’s 2013 TED Talk, “The Dawn of De-extinction.” Stewart has been an ardent conservationist since he was 10. That led him to get his degree in Biology from Stanford in 1960, focusing on ecology and evolution. The Whole Earth Catalog, which he created and ran from 1968 to 1984, purveyed a biological perspective on everything.

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Besides earning a National Book Award in 1972, the Catalog and its later philanthropy became one of the founding pillars of the Modern Environmental Movement—as chronicled in the book Counterculture Green: The Whole Earth Catalog and American Environmentalism (2007 by Andrew Kirk), and in the feature film “Earth Days” (2009 by Robert Stone). Recently, in an effort to inspire environmentalists to follow science instead of ideology, Stewart wrote Whole Earth Discipline: The Rise of Ecopragmatism (2010, Penguin). The book has two chapters on the environmental benefits of biotechnology. In 2015 Brand was one of the authors of an influential essay, “An Ecomodernist Manifesto.” He also co-founded The WELL and Global Business Network.

Evelyn Brister

Professor, Philosophy Department, Rochester Institute of Technology

Evelyn Brister is a Professor in the Philosophy Department at Rochester Institute of Technology. She has a PhD in Philosophy (Northwestern University, 2002) and an MS in Environmental Science (Rochester Institute of Technology, 2012). Her research focuses on identifying priorities in forest management, and, more generally, on supporting reasoning about values in science and environmental policy. She is the editor, with Robert Frodeman, of A Guide to Field Philosophy (Routledge 2020), a collection of essays examining collaborations between philosophers and policymakers, and she has also published on how best to promote interdisciplinary collaboration between social and natural scientists and between philosophers and scientists. As Vice-President of The Public Philosophy Network, she supports philosophers in creating public events around topics of social interest, such as sustainability and climate justice. Locally, she works with community groups in western New York on ecological restoration and invasive species management projects. Her current research project examines how values shape public responses to the use of bioengineering for conservation purposes.

Stas Burgiel

Executive Director, National Invasive Species Council

Stanley W. Burgiel (‘Stas’) serves as the Executive Director of the National Invasive Species Council (NISC), where he facilitates high-level dialogue and coordination across federal departments and White House offices on a portfolio of legal, policy and technical issues. He is responsible for overseeing implementation of NISC annual Work Plans and liaising with non-federal stakeholder groups. Stas has worked and consulted with a range of governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental institutions. He received his Ph.D. in international service from the American University and a B.A. in political science from Swarthmore College.

Andrea Byrom

Director, Biological Heritage National Science Challenge

Andrea’s research is aimed at understanding how global threats (climate change, invasive species, and land clearance) impact the native plants and animals of New Zealand. She has worked on similar issues in Australia and Africa. Andrea is the Director of the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, a consortium of 18 research organizations focused on addressing the most critical biotic threats to New Zealand, including invasive mammal predators that threaten the country’s flora and fauna. Breakthrough science is crucial to achieving the Predator-Free 2025 Goal for New Zealand, and Andrea is keen to see a transformational shift in the way research scientists pool their collective resources to tackle big issues that will create lasting impacts and benefits for that country.

Alta Charo

Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law & Bioethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

R. Alta Charo (Harvard, BA biology 1979; Columbia, JD law 1982) is a 2019-2020 Berggruen Fellow at CASBS, and the Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin, writing on medical ethics and biotechnology regulatory policy. In government, she served as a legal analyst for the former congressional Office of Technology Assessment, policy analyst for the US Agency for International Development and senior policy advisor in the FDA’s Office of the Commissioner. She was a member of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission under President Clinton, and the transition team for President Obama. Charo is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and co-chaired its committee on Guidelines for Embryonic Stem Cell Research and its 2017 committee on Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics and Governance.

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At present, she is a member of the World Health Organization’s committee on global governance of genome editing, of the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s Biosecurity Innovation and Risk Reduction project, and of the steering committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research’s effort to revise and expand its guidelines for ethical research, including research on chimeras and organoids.

Isabelle Coche

Secretariat, Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research

Isabelle Coche leads the Secretariat for the Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research. The Network’s purpose is to raise awareness of the value of responsible gene drive research for the public good and of the need for continuous efforts in its advancement. Isabelle has significant experience in policy and advocacy at the international and regional levels, and a broad knowledge of development issues acquired through previous work in international organizations, private sector and NGOs. At Emerging ag, which provides the Secretariat services to the Network, Isabelle serves as Vice President, Strategy. She leads on several global policy issues related to technology, climate change, biodiversity and public health, building on her in-depth knowledge and understanding of UN and multilateral processes.

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Prior to Emerging, Isabelle worked on issues related to gender and trade for the Organization of American States; as a campaigner for Amnesty International; and as policy manager for CropLife International. She has also worked as an independent consultant with organisations involved in agriculture and climate change, providing policy and strategy support. She holds a Master’s in Gender Studies from the London School of Economics (LSE) and a BA Honours in Political Science and Economics from McGill University. Isabelle has lived and worked in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

Al Cofrancesco

Technical Director, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ERDC

Dr. Alfred F. Cofrancesco, Jr. is the Technical Director, Civil Works Environmental Engineering and Sciences at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg Mississippi. He is responsible for conceptualizing, developing, leading, and executing research programs that address the Corps of Engineers’ most pressing environmental challenges. He leads a $58M research program that includes multiple Federal, State, academic, NGO partners, customers, and stakeholders. Over the last 37 years Dr. Cofrancesco has held positions as a Researcher, Team Leader, Branch Chief and Program Manager in the Environmental Laboratory. His research has focused on environmental issues, particularly ecosystem restoration, the characterization of ecosystem goods and services, and the control and management of invasive species. He has published over 30 technical papers, book chapters and a book dealing with environmental issues and invasive species management.

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Currently, Dr. Cofrancesco represents the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, Federal Interagency Committee on Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds, Chairman of the PIANC Working Group on “An Introduction to applying Ecosystem Services for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure Projects” and has served since 1991 as Chairman of the USDA-APHIS, Technical Advisory Group for Biological Control Agents of Weeds. Dr. Cofrancesco was selected by the US Department of Defense to attend Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, as a Senior Executive Fellow 2007 in the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Jason A. Delborne

Professor of Science, Policy, and Society, North Carolina State University

Jason A. Delborne is Professor of Science, Policy, and Society and University Faculty Scholar at North Carolina State University. With appointments in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources and the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, Delborne teaches and conducts research at the intersection of environmental policy, biotechnology, and public engagement. He draws upon the highly interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies (STS) to engage qualitative research methodologies to explore how policymakers, stakeholders, and members of the public interface with emerging biotechnologies designed for environmental benefit.

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Recent projects have focused on the genetically engineered chestnut tree, a gene drive mouse for biodiversity conservation, and the management of free-ranging cats in National Parks. Delborne was twice appointed to expert committees of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), which published Gene Drives on the Horizon (2016) and Forest Health and Biotechnology (2019). He currently serves on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Task Force on Synthetic Biology and Biodiversity Conservation, which published Genetic Frontiers for Conservation (2019). His academic scholarship includes over 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, appearing in journals such as Science, Social Studies of Science, BioScience, and Public Understanding of Science. Delborne holds a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University (1993) and a doctorate in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley (2005).

Owain Edwards

Group Leader, Environmental & Synthetic Genomics, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Dr Owain Edwards obtained a BSc in Zoology from the University of Guelph in 1986. He was awarded his MSc in Entomology from the University of Missouri‐Columbia, USA, in 1989 and his PhD in Entomology from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, in 1994. Prior to joining CSIRO in 1998, Dr Edwards undertook postdoctoral studies at the University of Florida and the US Department of Agriculture to study ecological and genetic factors controlling the establishment of natural enemies in classical biological control programs. As a Project Leader in CSIRO based in Perth, Western Australia, his research has focused primarily on the molecular basis of aphid‐host plant interactions, which now includes board membership in the International Aphid Genomics Consortium (IAGC) and strong collaborations with the Institute of Zoology (CAS Beijing), Kansas State University (USA),

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INRA Rennes (France) and BGI Shenzhen (China). His work on aphids has broadened to examine the molecular basis of all aphid interactions with their environment, including the genetic and epigenetic factors controlling aphid polyphenism and the molecular basis of insecticide resistance. This latter research has led Dr Edwards to focus recently in the areas of RNAi for pest control, nanopesticides, invertebrate ecotoxicology and environmental genomics. Dr Edwards is also leading CSIRO’s strategic research activities in conservation and biodiversity genomics, which includes the development of novel methods to assess invertebrate biodiversity using metagenomics. Dr Edwards also provides invertebrate genomics leadership internationally on the coordinating group of the i5K initiative to sequence 5000 insect genomes.

Joshua P. Fisher

Invasive Species Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office

Joshua Fisher is an Invasive Species Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Over the last 14 years at this field office, he has focused his attention on the prevention of the establishment of introduced invasive species that negatively affect or have the potential to affect the USFWS trust resources and their habitats within the Pacific Ecoregion.  In addition to this biosecurity/prevention focus, Joshua is engaged in efforts to advance new tools and solutions to address a myriad of conservation issues for which there are few, if any, management tools to employ at a landscape scale.

Martin Gaywood

Species Projects Manager, Scottish Natural Heritage

Following postdoctoral work at CSIRO Australia, Martin moved to Scottish Natural Heritage (Scotland’s nature agency) where he has been coordinating research, survey and conservation action for a range of plant, invertebrate and vertebrate species for over 25 years. Between 2007-12 he managed the ’Species Action Framework’ programme of targeted management for 32 priority species. Currently Species Projects Manager, he now coordinates the National Species Reintroduction Forum, is the SNH specialist for conservation translocation work and managed the production of the Scottish Code for Conservation Translocations, and has played a leading role in beaver reintroduction since 2000. Since 2016 he has been SNH lead for two major wildcat conservation partnership projects. He is a member of the IUCN Conservation Translocation Specialist Group and is currently editing a book on conservation translocations for Cambridge University Press.  He lives in wildcat country in the Scottish Highlands.

Doria Gordon

Lead Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund

Dr. Doria Gordon is currently the interim Vice President for Working Lands and a Lead Senior Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Dr. Gordon is also a Courtesy Professor of Biology at the University of Florida and a Research Associate at Archbold Biological Station. Prior to EDF, she spent 25 years working in science, conservation, and management for The Nature Conservancy. Her research has spanned predicting invasiveness in plant species using risk assessment tools, assessing habitat quality across the U.S., modeling the effects of sea level rise on coastal habitats, and identifying the effects of fire management and restoration on rare species and forested ecosystems. She has been extending her risk assessment approach to genetically engineered organisms and was on the committee that developed the NASEM (2019) publication on Forest Health and Biotechnology.

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Dr. Gordon has more than 90 scientific publications and has served on the boards of the Global Invasive Species Programme and Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. She holds a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Oberlin College (OH), and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis.

Gregg Howald

Director of Global and External Affairs, Island Conservation

Gregg is an expert in the field of island restoration, with 25 years of experience, including the eradication of invasive species from more than 75 islands in 8 countries. Gregg currently serves as Island Conservation’s Director of Global and External Affairs, and his experience and expertise are utilized for many of IC’s projects worldwide. With a diverse technical background, grounded in ecotoxicology, he has evolved into conservation diplomacy and is a key member of highly controversial projects and public engagement processes where he supports communication of risks and benefits of projects to inform values‐based decisions including regulatory compliance processes, the media, rightsholders, and the public. He has developed a network of partners globally and throughout North America, from federal government agencies, private industry, NGOs, academic institutions, and local communities. Gregg is currently working in networks of multilateral/transboundary public-private partnerships to bring industry, government, scientists, and NGOs together under national and international policy frameworks that are focused on island restoration programs, with a goal to increase the scale, scope, and pace of the eradication of invasive species from islands.

Margaret Hunter

Research Geneticist, U.S. Geological Survey, Wetland & Aquatic Research Center

Dr. Margaret Hunter is a research geneticist at the U.S. Geological Survey and adjunct faculty member at the University of Florida. Dr. Hunter’s laboratory develops genetic and genomic tools to improve the conservation and management efforts of imperiled and invasive species. She uses environmental DNA (eDNA) to characterize species’ range-boundaries and movement pathways and is exploring genetic tools to assist with the control of invasive species.

Peter Kareiva

Director, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA

Peter Kareiva is the director of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, Pritzker Distinguished Professor in Environment & Sustainability and Chair, Doctorate of Environmental Science and Engineering program. Before coming to UCLA, Kareiva was the Chief Scientist and Vice President of The Nature Conservancy, where he was responsible for maintaining the quality of over 600 staff engaged in conservation science in 36 countries around the world.

Kareiva studied political science and zoology at Duke University for his bachelor’s degree and ecology and applied mathematics at Cornell University for his Ph.D. He is the author of more than 150 scientific publications and author or editor of eight books, including a textbook on conservation science.  His most recent book (2017), Effective Conservation Science: Data not Dogma challenges conservationists to question received wisdom, and look to their data for surprises and new ideas that could be key to sustaining biodiversity.

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Kareiva is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of The National Academy of Sciences. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, Kareiva was the Director of Conservation Biology at the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and prior to that he was a Professor at the University of Washington and Brown University, with teaching or faculty stints at Stanford University, University of Virginia, Uppsala University, and Oxford University.

His current research concerns the connection between humans and nature, and the varied ways people of different cultures value nature, as well as inequities in access to nature and decent environments.  He is generally interested in the mix of individual behavior, corporate practices, and government regulations or incentives that will be most successful in conservation.  Finally he has just begun to do research on science communication, particularly with respect to climate science.  In the past Kareiva has published on biotechnology, agriculture, risk assessment, climate change, invasive species, and the importance of getting our children into nature.

He believes universities need to do a better job engaging with communities, and providing their advanced students with diverse career pathways, as opposed to simply reproducing professors.

Natalie Kofler

Founder, Editing Nature

Dr. Natalie Kofler is the founding director of Editing Nature – a global initiative to steer responsible development and deployment of environmental genetic technologies. She is a leading voice in CRISPR and synthetic biology ethics and governance, authoring numerous publications on the topic, serving on expert panels, and contributing to UN mandated documents. Her work has been highlighted by The New York TimesScienceNatureNPRCBC radio, Pacific Standard Magazine, and National Geographic. She lectures on environmental ethics at the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Harvard Medical School. She served as the resident scholar in sustainability at the University of Illinois, a visiting scholar at the Hastings Center for Bioethics, and is an affiliate scholar at the Yale Program in Biomedical Ethics. She received her Ph.D. in cellular, molecular, and medical biosciences and MS in human nutrition and metabolic studies from Columbia University and her BS in human anatomy and cell biology from McGill University. She is an advisor for the Scientific Citizenship Initiative at Harvard Medical School.

Jack Long

Chair, The Nature Conservancy, Texas Chapter 

Jack Long is an entrepreneur who has co-founded three businesses (two software and one transportation), two of which were recognized as Inc. 500 fastest-growing companies. Jack formerly taught entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Austin MBA program and at the Acton School of Business. He was a trustee for St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin, and currently serves as a trustee and Vice-Chair at Pomona College, Chair of the Texas chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and is a member of the Vanderbilt University Owen Management School Board of Visitors. Jack has undergraduate (University of Richmond, 1981) and graduate degrees (Vanderbilt University, 1983) in business and an undergraduate degree in Astronomy (University of Texas at Austin, 2018). Jack is an Airline Transport rated pilot having flown is Pilatus PC-12 aircraft around the world three times and to all seven continents.

Tame Malcolm

Operations Manager, Te Tira Whakamātaki Foundation
My tribes are Ngāti Tarāwhai and Ngāti Pikiao. I am a biosecurity consultant and specialise in terrestrial vertebrates. I now work for Te Tira Whakamataki, a not for profit entity with the aim of helping communities protect the environment the way they want to.  If I’m not helping tribes develop environmental protection plans and research plans, I am hunting and trapping on my own lands

Aditi Mankad

Team Leader, Biosecurity & Biotechnology, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Dr. Aditi Mankad is a senior research scientist and Team Leader with the Sustainability Pathways Program within CSIRO Land & Water, based in Brisbane Australia.  Aditi is trained in psychological science and has core expertise in psychological/behavioural issues around motivation, risk perception, emotion and behaviour change. She leads a team of social and economic scientists focused on agricultural innovation, biosecurity, and biotechnology. Aditi also leads the ‘Maximising Impact’ Application Domain within the CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform, which houses the social and behavioural science capability within the SynBio FSP.

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Aditi has worked in several interdisciplinary teams comprising social, economic, and biophysical scientists, as well as representatives from Government and Industry.

Her current research portfolio comprises of:

* Public stakeholder attitudes towards synthetic biology solutions for health, environmental and industrial challenges

* Risk perception of biosecurity threats

* Attitudes towards pest biocontrol and associated management practices

* Behavioural adoption of biosecurity activities and technologies

* Human dimensions monitoring in the Great Barrier Reef

Aditi also has extensive experience in urban sustainability issues, particularly urban water reuse options, sustainability attitudes, and water use behaviours. Her previous work as part of the Urban Water Security Research Alliance has involved examining community responses to acceptance and adoption of alternative water technology (rainwater, greywater, stormwater), to help facilitate sustainable water practices.

Emma Marris

Journalist and author

Emma Marris is an environmental writer and an Institute Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. She has written for many magazines and newspapers, including National Geographic, Wired, the New York Times, Nature and Outside. She has a Master’s in Science Writing from Johns Hopkins University. In 2011, she published her first book, Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World. In 2016, she gave at TED talk about seeing the hidden nature that surrounds us, which has been watched over a million times. She is currently writing a book about human relationships with wild animals. She grew up in Seattle, Washington, and lives with her husband and two children in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Michelle Marvier

Professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Santa Clara University 

My research has ranged from field ecology to risk assessment applied to Bt crops to global priority-setting for conservation. I co-authored a textbook, Conservation Science: Balancing the Needs of People and Nature, and recently co-edited Effective Conservation Science: Data not Dogma.

Katherine Moseby

Principal Scientist, Arid Recovery, Australia

Katherine Moseby is a conservation biologist who has lived and worked in the Australian deserts for more than 25 years. She is a research fellow at the University of New South Wales and specialises in threatened species conservation through innovative research and applied management. Katherine has co-founded four conservation projects in Australia and the Solomon Islands that combine high quality research with on ground conservation outcomes. Collectively, these projects protect over 100,000 ha of wildlife habitat. Her research interests include reintroduction biology, novel predator/prey interactions, threatened species biology, evolutionary biology, animal behaviour and designing and testing new solutions to reversing the extinction crisis.

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Katherine lives on a private nature reserve on the Eyre Peninsula with her husband and 3 children and collaborates with a range of practitioners including indigenous groups, government, mining, NGOs and Universities. She spends much of her time in the desert undertaking field work with her staff and students and is passionate about increasing nature immersion and fostering a love of wildlife in the younger generation. Katherine has published nearly 100 peer reviewed scientific publications and in her spare time loves to travel, attempt to surf and go hiking in wilderness areas.

Andrew Newhouse

Researcher, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, New York

Andrew has been working on projects that overlap the fields of conservation biology and molecular biology for more than 16 years.  During the past 11 years, he has worked with the American Chestnut Research & Restoration Project, at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science & Forestry.  This project has developed transgenic American chestnut trees that tolerate chestnut blight, a disease that nearly extirpated mature trees from their native range in the eastern USA.   Andrew has worked on a variety of aspects of this project, from genetic transformation and molecular analyses to blight screening and ecological field tests.  Most recently, he has been preparing for the US federal regulatory review process, a set of rigorous evaluations required before the trees can be distributed or used for restoration.

Ben Novak

Lead Scientist, Revive & Restore

Ben J. Novak collaboratively pioneers new tools for genetic rescue and de-extinction. He helps shape the genetic rescue efforts of Revive & Restore and leads its flagship project, The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback. Ben works with collaborators and partners to restore the ecology of the Passenger Pigeon to the eastern North American forests. Ben uses his training in ecology and ancient-DNA lab work to contribute, hands-on, to the sequencing of the extinct a Passenger Pigeon genome and to study important aspects of its natural history. Ben’s mission in leading the Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback is to set the standard for de-extinction protocols and considerations in the lab and field. His 2018 review article, “De-extinction,” in the journal Genes helped to define this new term.

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More recently, his treatment, Building Ethical De-Extinction Programs—Considerations of Animal Welfare in Genetic Rescue was published in December 2019 in The Routledge Handbook of Animal Ethics: 1st Edition. Ben’s work at Revive & Restore also includes extensive education and outreach, the co-convening of seminal workshops, and helping to develop the Avian and Black-footed Ferret Genetic Rescue programs included in the Revive & Restore Catalyst Science Fund, alongside the fund’s Program Manager Bridget Baumgartner. While passenger pigeons are Ben’s passion and specialty, the conceptualization of biotech-based genetic rescue solutions for all organisms has been a lifelong pursuit. Ben graduated from Montana State University studying Ecology and Evolution (2005). He later trained in Paleogenomics at the McMaster University Ancient DNA Centre in Ontario (2010-2012). This is where he began his study of passenger pigeon DNA, which then contributed to his Master’s thesis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz (2016). This work also formed the foundational science for de-extinction.

From 2017 to 2019, Ben worked at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory–CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) to advance genetic engineering protocols for the pigeon. Now returned to the U.S., Ben continues with the conceptual work he began at CSIRO to accelerate avian functional genomics for genetic rescue research.

Megan Palmer

Executive Director of Bio Policy & Leadership Initiatives, Stanford University; Board of Directors, Revive & Restore

Dr. Megan J. Palmer is the Executive Director of Bio Policy & Leadership Initiatives at Stanford University (Bio-polis). In this role, Dr. Palmer leads integrated research, teaching and engagement programs to explore how biological science and engineering is shaping our societies, and to guide innovation to serve public interests. Based in the Department of Bioengineering, she works closely both with groups across the university and with stakeholders in academia, government, industry and civil society around the world.

In addition to fostering broader efforts, Dr. Palmer leads a focus area in biosecurity in partnership with the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford. Projects in this area examine how security is conceived and managed as biotechnology becomes increasingly accessible. Her current projects include assessing strategies for governing dual use research, analyzing the diffusion of safety and security norms and practices, and understanding the security implications of alternative technology design decisions.

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Dr. Palmer has created and led many programs aimed at developing and promoting best practices and policies for the responsible development of bioengineering. For the last ten years she has led programs in safety, security and social responsibility for the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, which last year involved over 6000 students in 353 teams from 48 countries. She also founded and serves as Executive Director of the Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program (LEAP), an international fellowship program in biotechnology leadership. She advises and works with many other organizations on their strategies for the responsible development of bioengineering, including serving on the board of directors of Revive & Restore, a nonprofit organization advancing biotechnologies for conservation.

Gerry Ohrstrom

Private Investor, Former Chairmam of the Ohstrom Foundation, Workshop Sponsor

Gerry Ohrstrom is a private investor in New York City and former chairman of the Ohrstrom Foundation which was founded by his grandfather in 1953. In recent years Gerry has spent much of his time in the nonprofit sector. Prior to that, he worked in manufacturing, investment banking, and private equity. He is or has been a director of various corporations and nonprofit organizations, including the Santa Fe Institute, Reason Foundation, Intelligence Squared Debates, the Yellowstone Park Foundation, the Property and Environment Research Center, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Africa Fighting Malaria, the Gruter Institute, the Museum of the Rockies, and the Booker T. Washington Learning Center. His primary interests include education, scientific research, economics, public policy, and issues of poverty.

Steve Olson

Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Steve became Director of Government Affairs in March 2000. The Government Affairs Department represents the interests of AZA before Congress and Federal agencies. The Department monitors Federal legislation and regulations, analyzes the impact of bills and regulations on AZA members and develops position recommendations with the Government Affairs Committee and the AZA Board of Directors, supplies information on legislation and regulations to its member institutions, and works with government officials on developing effective Federal legislation, regulations, and partnerships.

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Steve received his B.S. and M.S. in wildlife management from Colorado State University. In 1987, Steve began work for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee. Steve has also worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the project manager for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and the National Coastal Resources Institute as its executive director.

Stephen R. Palumbi

Jane and Marshall Steele Jr. Professor of Marine Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University

Steve teaches and does research in evolution and marine biology at Stanford University, and has long been fascinated by how quickly the world around us changes. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Steve has worked in Washington State, Hawaii, Massachusetts and California. Work on the genetics of marine organisms tries to focus on basic evolutionary questions but also on practical solutions to questions about how to preserve and protect the diverse life in the sea. Steve has lectured extensively on human-induced evolutionary change, has used genetic detective work to identify whales for sale in retail markets, and is working to help find species resistant to climate change. Steve’s latest book for non-scientists is about the amazing species in the sea, written with Steve’s son and novelist Anthony.

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The Extreme Life of the Sea tells you about the fastest species in the sea, and hottest, coldest, oldest etc. Just a few years ago, Steve and Carolyn Sotka published an unusual environmental success story called The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival. His first science book for non-scientists, The Evolution Explosion explored how humans accelerate evolutionary change in the species around us.

Steve holds a Pd.D. from the University of Washington, and a BA from The Johns Hopkins University. He has received numerous awards for research and conservation, including a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation. He lives in Pacific Grove, CA.

Angus Parker

Board of Directors, Island Conservation

Angus Parker is an investment manager and contract COO, with experience in managing the operations of non-profit organizations. He has served as the Director of Operations for The Nature Conservancy’s Asia Pacific Region and the Chief Operation Officer of Island Conservation. Angus has an MBA in Finance & Operations from the Wharton School of Business, and an MS in environmental science from The Johns Hopkins School. Angus is an avid diver and underwater photographer.

Neil Patterson, Jr.

Assistant Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Neil Patterson, Jr. is the Assistant Director at the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. His work has been to celebrate, restore, and build relationships between indigenous communities and their aboriginal territory. This space still creates language, tradition, and story of human interaction for several thousand years. The pragmatic way in which indigenous people have co-evolved within their landscapes provides the most sublime template for reimagining and creating sustainable food, material, and energy systems.

Miguel Pedrono

Conservation Biologist, The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)

Miguel Pedrono was born and educated in France. From 1996 to 1998, he lived in extreme conditions in the bamboo-scrub forest of Baly Bay National Park, in Madagascar, researching the last wild Angonoka tortoises. He was able to study their demography and dynamics, and thus help recommend and form conservation strategies for the recovery of natural populations, including the first reintroduction of captive-bred individuals to the wild, an effort supported by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. In 2000 he received his PhD in Ecology from Paris-VI University for his studies on the integration of in situ and ex situ conservation approaches for the Angonoka tortoise. In 2001 he took up a lectureship in ecology at the Paris-XI University. Since 2002, Miguel has been a researcher in Conservation Biology and project coordinator at CIRAD.

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His work has taken him to many biodiversity hotspots including India, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Vietnam, where he has obtained first-hand experience in endangered species conservation. Between 2009 and 2019 he lived in Madagascar with his wife and their two sons, and he continues traveling to Madagascar to carry out extensive fieldwork on threatened endemic species. In 2018, Miguel initiated the first rewilding project in Madagascar; he is fully committed to implementing the reintroduction of giant tortoises in the wild after more than five centuries of absence. The recent successful reintroduction of giant tortoises to Anjajavy Reserve in northwest Madagascar is the very first opportunity to investigate the ecology of a Madagascan megafauna species in real time, and no longer indirectly through their subfossil remains. By bringing giant tortoises back to Madagascar, Miguel and his team have achieved a crucial step in the transformation of some once-depleted ecosystems into a thriving natural reserve while supporting megafauna restoration efforts in the country. Miguel is the author of two books, ‘The Tortoises and Turtles of Madagascar’ and ‘Twilight of the Angonoka, Biology and Conservation of the World’s Rarest Tortoise.’

Francisco Pelegri

Professor of Genetics and Medical Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Francisco Pelegri has studied early animal development for over 30 years, joining the faculty at the Departments of Genetics and Medical Genetics at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1999. His laboratory studies the zebrafish and its relative species as a model system to understand fundamental principles of animal embryology and develop new tools in conservation genetics. He explores the integration of interdisciplinary methods, undergraduate and graduate education and field studies toward the preservation of animal species.

Ryan Phelan

Co-founder and Executive Director, Revive & Restore

Ryan Phelan is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Revive & Restore, with a mission to enhance biodiversity through the genetic rescue of endangered and extinct species. Ryan works with some of the world’s leading molecular biologists, conservation biologists, and conservation organizations to develop pioneering genetic rescue projects using cutting-edge genomic technologies to solve previously intractable wildlife conservation challenges such as those posed by inbreeding, exotic diseases, climate change, and destructive invasive species. She organized a landmark workshop on genetic rescue at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, and acted as a principal investigator for the 2015 IUCN- and Rockefeller Foundation-sponsored Bellagio Conference on Biodiversity Conservation in the Context of Synthetic Biology.

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Ryan is a serial entrepreneur, active in the for-profit and non-profit worlds. She was the founder and CEO of two innovative healthcare companies: DNA Direct, the first medical genetics company to focus on bringing personalized medicine to the consumer, and Direct Medical Knowledge, a consumer health website unique for its depth of content and innovative search interface. Ryan is also President of the Board of Directors for Revive & Restore.

Karen Poiani

Chief Executive Officer, Island Conservation, California

Karen Poiani, Ph.D. was appointed Island Conservation’s CEO in July 2016. Dr. Poiani’s diverse leadership and management experience includes roles as chief conservation strategy officer, director of science, conservation program director, gender and diversity leader, and courtesy assistant professor (at Cornell University). She spent 17 years with The Nature Conservancy and served on the organization’s global executive team. Karen also worked as director of evaluation and learning at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Dr. Poiani earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from Stockton State College, New Jersey, an M.S. in Botany, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. She lives with her daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Kent Redford

Principal, Archipelago Consulting

Kent H. Redford is Principal at Archipelago Consulting established in 2012 and based in Portland, Maine, USA. Archipelago Consulting was designed to help individuals and organizations improve their practice of conservation and has worked with the Global Environment Facility, U.S. National Park Service, Moore Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Packard Foundation and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association amongst others. Prior to Archipelago Consulting Kent spent 14 years at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in New York. Previously he spent five years as head of Science and Stewardship in The Nature Conservancy’s Latin American Division. He started his career with a decade on the faculty at University of Florida where he co-founded the Program for Studies in Tropical Conservation and the Tropical Conservation and Development Programs. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University and has written numerous articles and books on synthetic biology and conservation, national parks, local peoples, conservation, and wildlife. He has organized and co-organized four meetings bringing together conservation biologists and synthetic biologists to discuss the future of nature in an increasingly synthetic world.

Yasha Rohwer

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Oregon Institute of Technology

Yasha Rohwer is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Oregon Institute of Technology.  He specializes in environmental ethics and the philosophy of science.  His research focuses on values in conservation biology, the use of technology for conservation, the nature of scientific explanation, and the use of idealized models in science. He has published in journals such as Philosophy of Science, the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Erkenntnis, Synthese, Environmental Values, Conservation Biology, Restoration Ecology, and Ethics, Policy & Environment.

Paul Robbins

Director, Nelson Insitute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Paul Robbins is the director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he guides the institute in serving as a world leader in addressing rapid global environmental change. He is spearheading several new initiatives in educational innovation, including the establishment of a professional master’s degree in Environmental Conservation. He also oversees a rapidly growing undergraduate environmental studies program.

Robbins is also strengthening the Nelson Institute’s commitment to the Wisconsin Idea through the expansion of its innovative service-learning and internship programs, partnerships across campus and with outside agencies and organizations, and community programs and public events.

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Robbins has years of experience as a researcher and educator, specializing in human interactions with nature and the politics of natural resource management. He has taught topics ranging from environmental studies and natural resource policy to social theory. His research addresses questions spanning conservation conflicts, urban ecology, and environment and health interactions. He has done extensive fieldwork in rural India, where he has focused his work on the politics surrounding forestry and wildlife conservation in Rajasthan, India, as well as recent research examining the wealth of biodiversity (frogs, birds and mammals) in commercial coffee and rubber plantations throughout south India.

Robbins has also led national studies of consumer chemical risk behaviors in America, including research on the abiding passion of Americans for their lawns and mosquito management policies in the Southwest. In addition, he has studied the complexities of elk management policy on the settled fringes of Yellowstone Park.

With writing focused on diverse interdisciplinary audiences and the broader public, he is author of the foundational textbook Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction and numerous research articles in publications that address conservation science, social science, and the humanities. His award-winning book Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are is widely recognized as one of the most accessible books on the environmental politics of daily life.

Robbins previously led the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona, which he helped establish and served for two years as director. A UW-Madison alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, Paul Robbins also holds a master’s degree and doctorate in geography, both from Clark University. He was raised in Denver, Colorado.

(Photo: Chengdu Institute of Biology)

Oliver Ryder

Director of Conservation Genetics, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, California

Oliver A. Ryder, PhD, is Director of Conservation Genetics and holds the Kleberg Chair at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. He oversees laboratory group that undertakes studies in the areas of molecular genetics, genomics, and stem cell biology. These efforts benefit from his long involvement with the Frozen Zoo® project, a unique resource of cell cultures that has made notable scientific contributions in the field of conservation and other biological disciplines. His professional career has been devoted to developing and applying genetic research methods in support of endangered species conservation efforts for species held in the Zoo and wild populations.

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Dr. Ryder is a geneticist with broad background and training. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from the University of California, Riverside, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. He holds a position of adjunct professor in the Department of Evolution, Behavior and Ecology, in the Division of Biology, at the University of California, San Diego. He is also an Adjunct Professor at San Diego State. Dr. Ryder has contributed key studies relevant to conservation management efforts for gorillas, California condors, African rhinos, Przewalski’s horses, Anegada iguanas, giant pandas, bighorn sheep, and numerous other species. He has been a leader in developing studies that link conservation efforts for small managed populations, such as are held in zoos, with larger landscape scale efforts for wild populations. His TEDx talk on YouTube introduced his current project on genetic rescue.

Royden Saah

Program Manager, GBIRd, Island Conservation 

Royden Saah, of Island Conservation, coordinates an international, multi-disciplinary, non-profit partnership focused on next generation technologies to prevent extinctions of endangered species. The Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Rodents (GBIRd) Program is composed of governmental, academic and NGO organizations from Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. The approach is to understand technical opportunities and constraints while also understanding how acceptable this type of technology would be to stakeholders. Our goal is to create a safe gene drive system that has the ability to affect population level changes in invasive rodents on islands.

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Prior to his work in conservation, Royden served in governmental and NGO agencies working to prevent and end catastrophic infectious disease outbreaks. In the North Carolina State Health Department, he held leadership positions in operations to end outbreaks including Anthrax (2001), SARS (2003), Pandemic Influenza (2009), and Ebola (2014). Royden led the biosafety and laboratory construction of a new pediatric hospital in Monrovia, Liberia during the Ebola epidemic. Previous to this, Royden served as the Chief Microbiologist for the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Master of Science in Microbiology, both from North Carolina State University.

Robert Scheller

Professor, Forestry and Environmental Resources, Center for Geospatial Analytics, NC State University, North Carolina

Dr. Scheller is Professor of Landscape Ecology at North Carolina State University in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources and the Director of the Dynamic Ecosystems and Landscapes Lab. He is the President of the International Association for Landscape Ecology and he is a member of the Emerging Plant Diseases and Global Food Security Cluster at NCSU. He grew up in Minnesota and received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Minnesota and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Forest Ecology from the University of Wisconsin. His research focuses on how landscapes have changed, how they will change, and why it matters.

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Many landscapes will be radically altered in the coming decades, in ways that exceed our imaginations. To understand and forecast landscape change, his research group studies diverse processes including human actions and management, land use change and history, forest ecology, climate change, etc. These processes inform advanced forecasting tools that incorporate many drivers of change, enabling local and regional decision-makers to assess the potential to manage for landscape change. Robert has published more than 90 manuscripts and book chapters and has received funding from NSF, DOD, USDA, USFS, USGS, BLM, EPA, TNC, and others.

Philip Seddon

Director of Postgraduate Wildlife Management Programme, University of Otago

Phil Seddon is a conservation biologist and Director of the Postgraduate Wildlife Management Programme at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Phil works primarily in the area of invasive species management and endangered species restoration. He is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Conservation Translocation Specialist Group and a co-author of the IUCN Guidelines on Reintroductions. He also headed the IUCN/SSC Task Force that derived the Guiding Principles on Creating Proxies of Extinct Species for Conservation and has been a commentator exploring the pros, cons and bioethics of de-extinction.

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He was a member of the IUCN Working Group on synthetic biology and a co-author of the 2017 article in Trends in Ecology and Evolution promoting the concept of synthetic biodiversity conservation. Phil has worked on conservation projects in New Zealand, Australia, Southern Africa, and the Middle East, and has advised on projects in Western Europe, Japan, Singapore, Hawai’i, Guam, and the Seychelles. Current projects include work in relation to New Zealand’s Predator-Free 2050 ambitions to eradicate key invasive mammals by 2050. He is a Trustee of the Endangered Species Foundation NZ, where he is promoting new projects to enhance backyard biodiversity and nature engagement by increasingly urbanized populations.

Brad Shaffer

Director and Distinguished Professor, La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, University of California, Los Angeles

Brad Shaffer is interested in evolutionary biology, ecology and conservation biology of amphibians and reptiles. Recent research projects include comparative phylogeography of amphibians and reptiles in California and the central U.S., systematics of freshwater turtles and tortoises in Australia, California, and the rest of the globe, and conservation genetics of endangered California amphibians and reptiles. Recently, he has focused a great deal of ecological and genetical work on the California tiger salamander, an endangered species native to central California grassland habitat.

Beth Shapiro

Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, University of California, Santa Cruz

Dr. Beth Shapiro is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in the genetics of ice age animals and plants. She uses DNA recovered from bones and other organic remains to study how species and communities evolved through time and how human activities affected this dynamic process. Her PhD research developed new tools to infer temporal changes in species’ abundance and distribution from chronological samples of genetic data. She has since used these to trace evolutionary changes in organisms ranging from influenza to mammoths, asking questions about domestication, admixture between species pairs, and pathogen evolution. Her current work develops techniques to recover and analyze increasingly trace amounts of DNA, such as from environmental and forensic samples.

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A 2009 MacArthur Fellow, Beth is also an award-winning popular science author and communicator who uses her research as a platform to explore the potential of new genomic technologies for conservation and medicine. Her book, “How to Clone a Mammoth,” offers a critical, pragmatic, perspective about de-extinction that is rooted in her ancient DNA expertise, Beth is a protagonist for the appropriate, ethical, and responsible application of de-extinction technologies for conservation of living species and their ecosystems. She co-directs the Paleogenomics Lab at UCSC, and her lab published the first DNA sequences of the Passenger Pigeon in 2002. She has since become one of the premiere scientists contemplating the emerging field of de-extinction.

Doug Smith

Senior Wildlife Biologist for Yellowstone National Park

Dr. Doug Smith has been the Senior Wildlife Biologist for Yellowstone National Park since 2008 and is the Project Leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project.  Under his leadership, the project was established to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone National Park which led to him supervising the elk and bird programs as well.  Doug is a well-published author of many articles and books including the soon-to-be-released Yellowstone Wolves: Science and Discovery in the World’s First National Park, which commemorates the twenty-fifth anniversary of the historically significant reintroduction project.

Mike Sweeney

California Executive Director and Managing Director of Global Fisheries, The Nature Conservancy

Mike Sweeney is Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in California and Managing Director of Global Fisheries. He joined The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter in 1998 as a project director, became Director of Real Estate in 2000, and became Chief Operating Officer and Associate State Director in 2001. In 2007, he was named Executive Director of the California Chapter, and in 2016 he added the role of Managing Director of Global Fisheries.

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Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, he was Special Assistant to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt during the first Clinton Administration. Previously, he worked in national politics for the Clinton-Gore ’92 campaign, for Kodansha Ltd, Japan’s largest publisher, and served on the staff of a member of the Japanese Diet. He has previously served on the Advisory Council for the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center and for three terms as Program Committee Chair on the board of Island Conservation. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Harvard College.

(Photo: © Dan Dawson Photography)

Mark Tercek


Mark Tercek served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Nature Conservancy—the global conservation organization known for its intense focus on collaboration and getting things done for the benefit of people and nature—from July 2008 to June 2019. He is the author of the Washington Post and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling book Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature.

Growing up as a city kid in Cleveland, Mark was a late-bloomer to conservation. It was becoming a parent that sparked his passion for nature. “I want to be able to look my kids in the eye,” he says, “and tell them I did all I could to leave the world a better place.”

Delphine Thizy

Stakeholder Engagement Senior Advisor, Target Malaria 

Delphine Thizy is the Stakeholder Engagement Senior Advisor to Target Malaria, a non-for-profit consortium of researchers developing an innovating vector control approach to save millions of lives from malaria. She has over 10 years’ experience in the field of stakeholder engagement in lower-income countries, with a particular attention on conflict drivers.

She holds a BA in Political Sciences, specialized in International Relations and Middle East Studies. After receiving her Master’s Degree in Economic development studies and project management from the Pierre Mendes University, France (Grenoble, France), she worked in advocacy for Palestinian farmers’ rights before holding several positions within PlaNet Finance in the Middle East and South Asia. There she was responsible for technical assistance to microfinance institutions in post-conflict countries as well as leading a team for capacity strengthening of various civil society groups.

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Afterward, she joined a consultancy company, Channel Research, specializing in the social impact of projects. In that role, she conducted a number of projects evaluations in the field of humanitarian aid and development for a variety of donors and organizations – including the European Commission, members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and private foundations. After creating her own consultancy company she specialized in social performance and stakeholder engagement for infrastructure and extractive industries. She led several teams for large social impact assessments across Africa.

Between 2014 and 2020 she was the Stakeholder Engagement Manager of Target Malaria and worked with teams in Mali, Uganda, Burkina Faso and Ghana, as well as at the global level to engage stakeholders to co-develop and share an innovative long-term, sustainable and cost-effective vector control technology.

She is now the manager of Delphine Thizy Consulting and provides support on stakeholder engagement activities, advocacy and social performance for projects in a variety of fields such as public health, livelihood restoration, etc.

(Photo © Daniele Esposito.)

Whitney Tilt

Principal, Conservation Benchmarks

Whitney Tilt is a principal at Conservation Benchmarks in Bozeman, Montana. Whitney has spent a career working in wildlife and natural resource conservation, addressing a wide range of challenges from Colorado River water allocations and black-footed ferret recovery to Asian tiger conservation and evaluation of federal fisheries programs. He earned a Masters of Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and began his introduction to the Greater Yellowstone Region ranching in the Tetons of Idaho. Whitney is author of the Flora of the Yellowstone and a founder of High Country Apps LLC, developing interactive field guides for smartphones and tablets.

Alison Van Eenennaam

Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the field of Animal Genomics and Biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis. She received a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and both an MS in Animal Science and a PhD in Genetics from UC Davis. Her publicly-funded research and outreach program focuses on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems. Her current research projects include the development of genome editing approaches for cattle. She serves as the bovine genome coordinator for the USDA National Animal Genome Research Program, served as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Study Committee for “Science Breakthroughs 2030: A Strategy for Food and Agricultural Research,” and is an elected Fellow and current chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources Section O.

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She has given over 650 invited presentations to audiences globally, and uses a variety of media to inform general public audiences about science and technology. She frequently provides a credentialed voice on controversial scientific topics, and has appeared on national media including The Dr Oz Show, NPR, Science Friday, and the Intelligence Squared debate series. She appeared in the 2017 documentary “Food Evolution” narrated by science-communicator Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. A passionate advocate of science, Dr. Van Eenennaam was the recipient of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) 2010 National Award for Excellence in Extension, the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) 2014 National Extension Award, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) 2014 Borlaug Communication Award, University of California, Davis 2019 James H. Meyer Distinguished Career Achievement Award, and ASAS 2019 Rockefeller Prentice Award in Animal Breeding and Genetics.

Kristen Walker

Senior Vice President, Center for Communities and Conservation at Conservation International; Chair, IUCN Commission on Environment Economics and Social Policy

Kristen is the Senior Vice President for the Center for Communities and Conservation at Conservation International, an IUCN member. In this role, she provides critical leadership on a range of social and international policies and practices related to indigenous peoples and local communities, gender, human rights-based approaches, social safeguards, as well as engagement with the peace and development community. Throughout her 25-year career, Kristen has advocated effectively and globally to improve the engagement of indigenous peoples and local communities in conservation through a human rights-based approach and a focus on people-centered conservation.

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Since 2016, Kristen has powerfully committed herself to the Union in her elected role of Chair of the Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) for (IUCN). Under her tenure, the Commission has supported the Unions Members, supported all the Commissions, advanced our work with IPO members, engaged in research around well-being and conservation, peace and migration and governance, and expanded commission membership. Through Kristen’s leadership, CEESP partnered with the Community Conservation Research Network to host the 2018 Conference on Communities, Conservation, and Livelihoods which brought academia together with practitioners and indigenous peoples to advance the evidence-based work of the CEESP. For more information on her work with CEESP visit here. Kristen holds a degree in Latin American Studies and Anthropology from George Washington University. She was a Cotlow Scholar in 1996, a Fulbright Scholar in 1997-1998, and is a Senior Fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program. She serves on several boards, including the Equator Initiative, the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, and the Chol-Chol Foundation.

Michele Weber

Director of Conservation Innovation, Revive & Restore

Michele Weber joined the Revive & Restore team in January 2020 bringing scientific expertise, program development skills, and an enthusiasm for science, nature, and conservation.

Michele is an evolutionary biologist with over ten years’ experience in scientific research and philanthropy. Using a creative strategy to address scientific challenges, Michele has conducted research on threatened coral reefs around the world, working on questions related to symbiosis and biodiversity. More recently, Michele helped develop the scientific priorities and program strategy for the Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

At Revive & Restore, Michele sources and develops diverse collaboration opportunities and innovative scientific solutions. She works with conservationists, scientists, government agencies and funders to build projects and strategies that address some of the world’s most pressing conservation challenges. Michele holds a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology and a BS in Molecular and Cell Biology, both from UC Berkeley.

Renee Wegrzyn

Program Manager, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Dr. Renee Wegrzyn joined DARPA as a Program Manager in 2016, where she applies the tools of genome engineering and synthetic biology to support biosecurity, enable flexible biomanufacturing, and outpace infectious disease.  Her portfolio includes the Living Foundries, Safe Genes, PREPARE, and DIGET programs. Living Foundries seeks to transform biology into an engineering practice by developing the tools, technologies, methodologies, and infrastructure to prototype and scale engineered microbes that can produce molecules that are of value for government and commercial use. Safe Genes aims to deliver novel biological capabilities to facilitate the safe and expedient pursuit of advanced genome editing applications, while also providing the tools and methodologies to mitigate the risk of unintentional consequences or intentional misuse of these technologies. PREPARE (Preemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements) is focused on applying the tools of genome engineering to create potent, transient, and reversible medical countermeasures to combat biological, chemical, and radiological threats to public health and national security. DIGET (Detect It with Genome Editing Technologies) is focused on applying the tools of genome engineering to detect any threat, any time, anywhere. 

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Prior to joining DARPA as a PM, Dr. Wegrzyn was a Senior Lead Biotechnologist at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she led a team that provided scientific and strategic support in the areas of biodefense, biosecurity, and biotechnical innovation to DARPA and other federal and private institutions. She is a former Fellow of the UPMC Center for Health Security Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative. Dr. Wegrzyn also led research and development teams in the biotech industry focused on the development of multiplex immunoassays and peptide-based disease diagnostics. Dr. Wegrzyn holds Doctor of Philosophy and Bachelor of Science degrees in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, with an undergraduate minor in Bioengineering. She completed her postdoctoral training as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in Heidelberg, Germany.

Bruce Whitelaw

Professor of Animal Biotechnology, The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Society of Biology. Bruce Whitelaw is currently Deputy Director (Partnerships) at The Roslin Institute where holds the Genus Chair in Animal Biotechnology. Bruce was awarded a BSc degree in Medical Microbiology (Virology elective) from the University of Edinburgh in 1982 and his PhD in 1987 from the University of Glasgow. He has dedicated his career to the development and application of genetic engineering technologies in animals. Building from early work in transgenic livestock as bioreactors of human biomedical proteins in milk, Bruce has pioneered the use of lentivirus vectors for transgene delivery and more recently genome editors for precise genetic engineering of livestock. He seeks to apply this technology in the field of animal biotechnology, specifically to develop novel ways to combat infectious disease in animals, evaluate strategies to enhance overall reproductive efficiency and explore opportunities to develop new treatments of disease through appropriate genetically engineered animal models.

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His interest in animal biotechnology includes the development of innovative in vitro driven assisted reproductive technologies and exploration of gene drive technology in mammalian systems. Bruce is a member of the BBVA Foundation’s Frontiers of Science Award in Biomedicine Jury; is a Director and Chairman of TAG-UK (subsidiary of Tropical Animal Genetics); is Chairman of the Roslin Innovation Centre; and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

Matthew Winkler

Chairman and Founder, Asuragen; Board of Directors, Revive & Restore

Matt is a lifelong biologist and environmentalist.  He received a B.S. degree in Genetics and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of California at Berkeley.  He joined the Zoology Department as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin in 1983.  In 1989, as an Associate Professor, he started Ambion Inc., a molecular biology “tools” company.  He is the author of over 30 publications and has 19 issued patents.  In March of 2006, with the goal of more directly influencing patient’s lives, he sold the research products division of Ambion to Applied Biosystems and with about 100 employees started Asuragen. Asuragen is an in vitro molecular diagnostics company with worldwide distribution of its products focused on cancer and genetic diseases.  He sits on the boards of The Breakthrough Institute and several advisory boards associated with The University of Texas.  Matt has been active in pro-GMO issues since 2000.leting a book about what kinds of conservation experimentation we should be considering in response to the unfolding Sixth Extinction Event.

Josh Wodak

Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University

Dr. Josh Wodak works at the intersection of the Environmental Humanities and Science & Technology Studies. His research addresses the socio-cultural dimensions of the climate crisis and the Anthropocene, with a focus on the ethics and efficacy of conservation through technoscience, including Synthetic Biology, Assisted Evolution, and Climate Engineering.

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He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University; a Chief Investigator at the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence in Synthetic Biology; and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Biological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales. Originally trained in Anthropology (University of Sydney, 2002, and Australian National University, 2011) his publications have appeared in Humanities; Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities; Environmental Communication; Transformations: Journal of Media, Culture and Technology; Music and Arts in Action; Unlikely: Journal for Creative Arts; and Futures; and in edited volumes on the rhetoric of climate communication; the aesthetics of the undersea; transformative pedagogies about the environment; and environmental history.

He is currently completing a book about what kinds of conservation experimentation we should be considering in response to the unfolding Sixth Extinction Event.

Mark Zimring

Director of the Global Tuna Program, The Nature Conservancy

Mark Zimring is Director of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC’s) Global Tuna Program. He also leads special projects on behalf of TNC’s California Chapter. Prior to TNC, Mark spent time on Wall Street and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  He has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MPP from UC-Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and an MS from UC-Berkeley’s Energy & Resources Group. Mark lives in Truckee, CA with his wife, their two kids, and their belligerent dog.


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