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Jesús E. Maldonado



Current position: 

Reproductive Geneticist

Current facility:

Smithsonian's National Zoological Park

Year zoo career began:


Jesus Maldonado is a research geneticist at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo where his research uses molecular genetics to answer questions about conservation in mammals. Some of his research focuses on the degree of genetic variation within zoo populations of species to assess levels of inbreeding and determine units of conservation significance. His research has helped address conservation issues in several endangered animals. He has developed non-invasive genetic techniques to reliably gain information to study many species. Jesus has over 100 publications in various scientific journals including Science, PLoS One, and Molecular Ecology.

Jesus grew up near Mexico City and moved to Pennsylvania in 1979. He began attending Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania where he obtained a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in biology. After earning both degrees, Jesus moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a curatorial assistant at the Section of Mammals at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County until 1989. Shortly after, he began studying a doctorate in organismic biology, ecology, and evolution at the University of California, Los Angeles, which he earned in 2001. In 1998, he began working with the Smithsonian Institution before transferring to his current position.

Jesus is very passionate about educational programs and has mentored multiple undergraduate students through research projects. Jesus acts as an advisor for graduate and postdoctoral fellows and is an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University and the University of Maryland. Jesus is also a native Spanish speaker and has collaborated with various Latin American and Spanish biologists as well as given several presentations in Spanish.

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