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April 14, 2022 29 min

How human activity, chemical exposures, and environmental factors combine to contribute to wildlife population declines is at the forefront of the research by Dr. Caroline Moore and other teams at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Dr. Moore unravels the role of toxicology in wildlife conservation with co-hosts Anne Chappelle and David Faulkner.

 

About the Guest
Caroline Moore, PhD, DVM, serves the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance as a Scientist in Disease Investigations. In this role, she works as a veterinary toxicology researcher, providing molecular and diagnostic toxicology support. She uses toxicology, pathology, molecular diagnostics, and epidemiology to better understand how environmental contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides, and harmful algal blooms, create roadblocks to wildlife conservation and how to prevent them.

Dr. Moore is working on developing and applying environmental and diagnostic toxicology in Kenya, where pesticides are used indiscriminately; in Peru, where mining activities release mercury into the environment, impacting birds, bats, nonhuman primates, ocelots, and more; and in Zimbabwe, where harmful algal blooms may be an increasing threat. She is especially interested in developing noninvasive in situ diagnostic tests to better understand the challenges to endangered species and how toxicant exposures may impact future generations through altered epigenetics.

Dr. Moore earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of California Santa Cruz, assisting with necropsies and research on the decline of the southern sea otter. She earned her doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology and her veterinary medical degree at the University of California Davis while on a US Environmental Protection Agency STAR grant investigating how globally present microcystins have toxic effects on the nervous system. She spent the next year as a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Los Angeles researching how environmental contaminants may cause reproductive toxicity through epigenetics, and the next two years as the SDZWA Steel Endowed Pathology Fellow, establishing successful ways to incorporate more toxicology into conservation field programs. 

Dr. Moore is an active member of the Society of Toxicology, the American College of Toxicology, and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, serving on committees and boards for comparative veterinary toxicology, early career professionals, diversity and inclusion, and regional support for Southern California. As an avid hiker, camper, and wildlife enthusiast, Dr. Moore has always felt the need to support conservation efforts through her research. 

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